Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale (born January 5, 1928) is an American politician, diplomat and lawyer who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.
A United States senator from Minnesota (1964–1976), he was the Democratic Party's nominee in the United States presidential election of 1984, but lost to Ronald Reagan in an Electoral College landslide.
Reagan won 49 states while Mondale carried his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
He became the oldest-living former U.S.
vice president after the death of George H.
Bush in 2018.
Mondale was born in Ceylon, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951 after attending Macalester College.
He then served in the U.S.
Army during the Korean War before earning a law degree in 1956.
He married Joan Adams in 1955.
Working as a lawyer in Minneapolis, Mondale was appointed to the position of attorney general in 1960 by Governor Orville Freeman and was elected to a full term as attorney general in 1962 with 60 percent of votes cast.
He was appointed to the U.S.
Senate by Governor Karl Rolvaag upon the resignation of Senator Hubert Humphrey following Humphrey's election as vice president in 1964.
Mondale was subsequently elected to a full Senate term in 1966 and again in 1972, resigning that post in 1976 as he prepared to succeed to the vice presidency in 1977.
While in the Senate, he supported consumer protection, fair housing, tax reform, and the desegregation of schools.
Importantly, he served as a member of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities ("Church Committee").In 1976, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic presidential nominee, chose Mondale as his vice presidential running mate.
The Carter–Mondale ticket defeated incumbent president Gerald Ford and his vice presidential running mate, Bob Dole.
Carter and Mondale's time in office was marred by a worsening economy and, although both were renominated by the Democratic Party, they lost the 1980 election to Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.
In 1984, Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination and campaigned for a nuclear freeze, the Equal Rights Amendment, an increase in taxes, and a reduction of U.S.
His vice presidential nominee was Geraldine Ferraro, a Congresswoman from New York, who was the first female vice presidential nominee of any major party.
Mondale and Ferraro lost the election to the incumbents Reagan and Bush.
After his defeat by Reagan, Mondale joined the Minnesota-based law firm of Dorsey & Whitney and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1986–93).
President Bill Clinton appointed Mondale United States Ambassador to Japan in 1993; he retired in 1996.
In 2002, Mondale ran for his old Senate seat, agreeing to be the last-minute replacement for Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who had been killed in a plane crash during the final two weeks of his re-election campaign.
However, Mondale narrowly lost that race to Saint Paul mayor Norm Coleman.
He then returned to working at Dorsey & Whitney and remained active in the Democratic Party.
Mondale later took up a part-time teaching position at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H.