One of his proudest legislative accomplishments, he said, was his leadership role in making it easier for the Senate to cut off a filibuster with 60 votes due to a rule change instead of a two-thirds vote as it was previously required. One of his greatest regrets, he said, was his delay until 1969 when he turned against the Vietnam War.
In the 1970s, Mr. Mondale’s name was on the list of possible candidates for national office. He dutifully wrote a campaign book entitled “The Accountability of Power: Towards a Responsible Presidency” (1975), in which he criticized the “Imperial Presidency” of Richard M. Nixon and then competed for the nomination of President 1976 joined.
The campaign was going nowhere. “I remember being six points behind ‘don’t know’ after a year,” said Mondale in an interview in 2010. He ended the offer early in 1974. When he withdrew, he said he lacked an “overwhelming desire to To become president “. The comment would haunt him.
No. 2 With a say
The Democratic victor, Mr. Carter, a conservative southerner, was looking for a liberal northerner who could help him find support in the industrialized world. Mr Mondale was high on everyone’s list, but he had mixed feelings until he got an agreement from the candidate that he would play a full political role, augmented by the largely ceremonial roles assigned to most vice presidents.
Mr. Mondale’s chief of staff, Richard Moe, said Mr. Humphrey had been just as persuasive. “Fritz,” he said, “if you have the chance to become Vice President you should take it,” recalled Mr. Moe.
In office, Mr. Carter was true to his word when he made important assignments in the White House, said Mr. Mondale in 2010. “Carter listened to me a lot, I think,” he said. “I was trying to avoid a win-loss record. But he was wonderful for me and for Joan. They have never offended our independence, integrity or position. “
Some in the presidential circle, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security advisor, later downgraded Mr Mondale’s contribution as it consisted largely of political advice. In one case, Mr Mondale unsuccessfully spoke out against the imposition of a grain embargo on the Soviet Union after its invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.