Walter Mondale on Government Reform

Would be Deputy President Pro Tempore under Senate rules

Former Vice President Walter Mondale launched his Senate campaign in Minnesota Thursday by touting his experience in hopes of blunting Republican arguments that his time has passed.

Mondale represented Minnesota in the Senate from 1964 to 1976 before becoming Jimmy Carter's vice president. If he returns to Washington, he said, he could "start being effective on the first day in the Senate."

"Under the rules when I return, if the voters will let me, I will become part of the leadership on the first day because I'm a former vice president," he added. Mondale was referring to Senate Resolution 17, which created the leadership position of Deputy President Pro Tempore in the Senate. The resolution states that any member of the Senate who has held the office of president or vice president of the United States will be named to the position.

Source: CNN.com, ?Mondale-Coleman race begins? Oct 31, 2002

Role as V.P. was as generalist and troubleshooter

Famous as a politician who always did his homework, Mondale studied the vice-presidency to determine why so many of his predecessors had failed. Mondale identified Nelson Rockefeller's chairing of the Domestic Council as a mistake and observed that vice presidents too often took minor functions "in order to appear that their role was significant." Instead of specific assignments, he preferred to remain a generalist and a troubleshooter, someone consulted on all issues. At one point he even turned down Carter's suggestion that the vice president become the chief of staff. "If I had taken on that assignment," Mondale reasoned, "it would have consumed vast amounts of my time with staff work." The vice president also planned to avoid being shunted into such ceremonial functions as attending state funerals. The chief exception that he made was to travel to Yugoslav President Tito's funeral in 1980, because high-level diplomatic contact was required.
Source: Senate Historical Office, Vice Presidents of the US Jan 1, 1997

Require debates for presidential contenders

Q: Should debates be a required part of the presidential process?

A: Absolutely. I've been in public life [for decades], and I am sick about the diminished lack of substance in our campaigns. We're in what I call the era of the marketer, where the skills of avoidance, irrelevance, negatives have taken over from substance. It is only in debates where the candidate stands there alone without notes, toe to toe with his opponent, has to show the ability to range across issues? nothing matches debates for that purpose.

I would like to condition the federal campaign support that goes to these candidates, to a requirement that they debate, say, six times, on a different subject each night. I would be for maybe longer than an hour and a half debates, although that's a minor point. The main point is to have several debates with specific broad, fundamental issues each night, with three of the toughest news people that can be found.

Source: PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer May 25, 1990

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Other candidates on Government Reform: Walter Mondale on other issues:
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Mark Dayton
Norm Coleman
Paul Wellstone
Rod Grams

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