In the 1970s, Mr. Mondale’s name was on lists of possible candidates for national office. In fact, he wrote a campaign book, “The Responsibility of Power: Towards a Responsible Presidency” (1975), in which he criticized the “Imperial Presidency” of Richard M. Nixon, then joined the race to the presidential inauguration of 1976.
The campaign has gone nowhere. “I remember after a year I was six points behind on ‘I don’t know’,” Mondale said in the 2010 interview. He ended the candidacy early, in 1974. On stepping down, he said he lacked an “overwhelming desire to be president.” The comment would come to haunt him.
No. 2 with a word
The Democratic winner, Mr Carter, a conservative southerner, was looking for a liberal northern vice-presidential candidate who could help him gain support in industrial states. Mr Mondale was at the top of everyone’s list, but he had mixed feelings until he got the candidate’s agreement that he would have a full political role, expanded from the mostly ceremonial duties assigned to him. most of the vice-presidents.
Mr Mondale’s chief of staff, Richard Moe, said Mr Humphrey had been equally convincing. “’Fritz,’ he said, ‘if you have a chance to be vice president you should take it,’ Moe recalled.
In power, Mr. Carter was true to his word by giving him important responsibilities in the White House, Mondale said in 2010. “Carter listened to me a lot, I think,” he said. “I tried to avoid giving a win-loss record. But he was wonderful for me and for Joan. They have never insulted our independence, our integrity or our position.
Some members of the presidential circle, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser, subsequently denigrated Mr. Mondale’s contribution as being largely political advice. In one case, Mondale unsuccessfully opposed the imposition of a grain embargo on the Soviet Union after its invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.
“Mr. President, we must be strong and firm, but that does not mean that you must commit political suicide,” he said, according to the briefs of Hamilton Jordan, the chief of staff of Mr. Carter.