Biden: Mondale rescued me from darkness

The crash occurred while Biden was away in Washington mere weeks after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Biden was 30 years old, and his sons, Beau and Hunter, were facing a long period of rehabilitation and recovery.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go to the United States Senate after that. We had elected a governor, a Democrat. He could appoint a Democrat. And I had my brother talking to him about who he would appoint. But there was Fritz and Joan; they embraced me,” Biden said referring to Mondale by his longtime nickname.

He added: “It’s not just being nice but bringing me in. They came to the hospital to see my boys.”

Biden said Mondale and others including then-Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) persuaded him to at least give the Senate a try for six months — and then kept him busy to get his thoughts off his family tragedy.

“They kept me engaged. They helped me get up when it was easy to give up,” Biden said.

The Covid-19 pandemic had delayed the memorial for Mondale, who died in April 2021 at the age of 93. He served as vice president under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, but was at the wrong end of a landslide when he tried to defeat President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Biden referred to Mondale on Sunday “one of the great giants in American history. … Fritz was a giant in American political history.”

Last week, Biden spoke at a memorial ceremony for Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become the secretary of State. Albright died in March at the age of 84. “In the 20th and 21st century, freedom had no greater champion than Madeleine Korbel Albright,” Biden said at the Washington National Cathedral.

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