Walter F. Mondale
January 5, 1928 - April 19, 2021
Charles Krauthammer with Walter Mondale
The White House | Washington, DC | 1980
Charles Krauthammer worked as a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale from 1980 to 1981. It was one of his first jobs in politics after moving to Washington, DC, and “an experience,” he wrote, that he would always “remember well and with fondness.”
In the years that followed, Krauthammer would reflect, his politics and those of the Democratic Party moved apart. “On foreign policy,” he wrote, “as the cliché goes, I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. It left me.” And on “domestic policy…. As I became convinced of the practical and theoretical defects of the social-democratic tendencies of my youth, it was but a short distance to a philosophy of restrained, free-market governance that gave more space and place to the individual and to the civil society.”
Despite their diverging political paths in the decades that followed, Krauthammer and Mondale retained the greatest respect and affection for one another. They remained in touch until the end of Krauthammer’s life.
Whenever people on my right want to attack me,
they always refer to me as "Mondale speechwriter, Charles Krauthammer."
So I carried that the rest of my life. I carry it proudly.
— Charles Krauthammer
Let me assure you, however, that this political evolution has done nothing to diminish the affection and admiration that I developed so many years ago working for you in the Old Executive Office Building.
— Charles Krauthammer to Walter Mondale | Personal correspondence | August 20, 2013
I have been watching your career from afar and although we don’t always hit the same issues in the same way, I continue to be impressed by your leadership and genius.
— Walter Mondale to Charles Krauthammer | Personal correspondence | September 4, 2013
Former Vice President Walter Mondale’s farewell letter to his staff, released on the day of his passing: