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What Makes A Good Vice Presidential Pick? Walter Mondale Answers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -  Presidential candidate Joe Biden says he's planning to announce his running mate next week. He's also said he plans to choose a woman.

So, we asked a Minnesotan who knows firsthand: what makes a good vice presidential pick? Good question.

"So who should it be? Toughest question in the world," said former Vice President Walter Mondale.

There are few people in this world who are better able to understand the vice presidency Mondale, served as President Jimmy Carter's running mate between 1977 and 1981. Later, when he ran for office, he chose a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, to run as his vice president.

But the act of choosing a vice president has changed since then.

"We've gotten tougher with it," said Mondale. "And we use this selection process to broaden America, to make it more representative, and part of that is to finally get women in to positions of power at the highest levels of American government. I tried, and I couldn't get it done."

Political scientists will tell you the role of the vice president changed with Walter Mondale.

"It's become much more meaningful, it's much closer to the president," he said.

His office was in the West Wing, he had full access to the president, and he was part of the inner circle. Since then, that's how the office has functioned.

"You want someone who you have confidence in, who's honest. You want somebody who will help you govern," he said. And lastly, "you want somebody to help you get elected."

But how much the vice presidential pick influences the final vote continues to be a debate.

"You get down to the stretch, they're looking at the two presidential or three presidential candidates. They're not spending much time on the vice president," said Mondale


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