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Walter Mondale, a leading liberal Democratic voice of the late 20th century who was U.S. vice president under Jimmy Carter and lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election, died on Monday at age 93, his family said.

“Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor,” Mondale said in a statement to his staff and released to the public after his death, referring to his late wife Joan, who died in 2014, and daughter Eleanor, who died in 2011 at age 51. “Before I go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me.”

Mondale, the first major U.S. party presidential nominee to pick a woman running mate, believed in an activist government and worked for civil rights, school integration, consumer protection and farm and labor interests as a U.S. senator and vice president during Carter’s troubled one-term presidency from 1977 to 1981.

He also served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996 under Bill Clinton.

Mondale had spoken in recent days with Carter, Clinton, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, a family spokesperson said.

“It’s with great sadness that Jill and I learned of the passing of Vice President Walter Mondale, but great gratitude that we were able to call one of our nation’s most dedicated patriots and public servants a dear friend and mentor,” President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement.

“Walter Mondale was the first presidential nominee of either party to select a woman as his running mate, and I know how pleased he was to be able to see Kamala Harris become Vice President,” Biden’s statement added.

“Today I mourn the passing of my dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country’s history,” Carter, 96, said in a statement that also praised Mondale’s political skill and integrity.”

“He was an invaluable partner and an able servant of the people of Minnesota, the United States, and the world.”

Widely known as “Fritz,” Mondale was the Democratic nominee in 1984 against Reagan, a popular incumbent Republican who had beaten Carter four years earlier, and selected New York Democratic U.S. congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his vice presidential running mate. Ferraro died in 2011 at age 75.

Despite the historic selection of a woman, Mondale suffered one of the worst defeats ever in a U.S. presidential election, losing in 49 of the 50 states and carrying only his native Minnesota as well as Washington, D.C.

It was the first of two times that Mondale was sent into political retirement by a crushing defeat.

Eighteen years later, grieving Minnesota Democrats beseeched Mondale, then 74, to run for the Senate after Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before the 2002 election. Mondale lost narrowly to Republican Norm Coleman, who depicted him as the graying representative of a bygone era.

During his race against Reagan, Mondale promised Americans he would raise their taxes, a vow that did little to help his candidacy.

“I mean business. By the end of my first term, I will reduce the Reagan budget deficit by two-thirds,” Mondale said during his speech in San Francisco accepting the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination. “Let’s tell the truth. It must be done, it must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

The remark helped sink his campaign. Even years later, he expressed no regrets. “I’m really glad I did it,” he told PBS in 2004. “It’s something that I felt good about, and I thought I told the truth.”

Earlier that year, Mondale made a memorable political quip when, during a primary debate, he tried to depict Gary Hart, a rival for his party’s presidential nomination, as all style and no substance by asking: “Where’s the beef?”

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The line, borrowed from a humorous hamburger commercial popular at the time, hurt Hart’s campaign.

Mondale was a protege of fellow Minnesota liberal Hubert Humphrey, also a senator and vice president, who lost the 1968 presidential election to Republican Richard Nixon.

Mondale served in the Senate from 1964 until he was elected as vice president in Carter’s 1976 victory over incumbent Republican Gerald Ford, who had become president after Nixon resigned in 1974 due to the Watergate corruption scandal.

The Carter-Mondale ticket lost in 1980 against Reagan and his running mate, George H.W. Bush. Mondale, still associated in voters’ minds with Carter, faced the daunting task of trying to defeat a popular incumbent amid economic prosperity in 1984.

The contest between Mondale and Reagan presented Americans with a clear choice between liberal and conservative candidates and doctrines.

Mondale was seen as the victor in their first debate, with the older Reagan coming across to some as out of touch and uncertain.

Reagan rebounded in the second debate. He allayed concerns about his age with his response to a question as to whether, at age 73, he was too old to be seeking four more years as president.

“I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” Reagan joked, provoking laughter in the audience at the debate, and even from Mondale.

“I think the public wanted to vote for Reagan,” Mondale said later. He said that after the second debate, “I was almost certain the campaign was over. And it was.”

Mondale’s loss and a similar thrashing of fellow liberal Michael Dukakis in 1988 opened the way for more centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton to assert themselves in the party.

Born in Ceylon, Minnesota, on Jan. 5, 1928, Walter Frederick Mondale was the sixth of seven children. His father was a Methodist minister, his mother a music teacher.

Minnesota was dominated by farming and mining, and it had a tradition of liberal, populist politics, with many Scandinavian-American residents like the Norwegian Mondales.

After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a law degree at the University of Minnesota. His political life started with his work on the re-election campaign of Humphrey, then mayor of Minneapolis.

When Humphrey became vice president in 1964, Mondale succeeded him in the Senate, coming to Washington during Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” a time of great hope and excitement for liberals, though their optimism was crushed by the Vietnam War.

Mondale married wife Joan in 1955. She died in 2014. They had three children, Eleanor and sons Theodore and William.

Plans for memorials will be announced later for both Minnesota and Washington D.C., Mondale family said.

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Robert Wilkie: Democrats Want to Rewrite VA Motto to Remove Language from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

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Robert Wilkie, former secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during the Trump administration, told Breitbart News that Democrats are trying to remove words from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address from the VA’s motto, everywhere it appears.

Wilkie emphasized the importance of this proposal ahead of Memorial Day in an interview on a special edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak.

The current VA motto is:

To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.

The motto is based on a specific quote from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Several Democrats — and even a handful of Republicans — are supporting legislation to rewrite the VA’s motto to remove the pronouns “him” and “his,” ostensibly to be “inclusive of women and LGBTQ veterans.”

According to the House and Senate bills, titled the “Honoring All Veterans Act of 2021”:

The mission statement of the Department shall be as follows: ‘To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those ‘‘who shall have borne the battle’’ and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.’.’’.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) wrote, “I introduced a bill to update the VA motto to be inclusive of women & LGBTQ veterans.”

I introduced a bill to update the VA motto to be inclusive of women & LGBTQ veterans.

Thank you @RepSteveStivers@gillibrandny@lisamurkowski & @iava for joining me in this effort to ensure ALL veterans receive the recognition they deserve from the VA.https://t.co/mL7EACKKj1

— Kathleen Rice (@RepKathleenRice) April 23, 2021

Wilkie warned that the legislation “will remove Abraham Lincoln’s words from not only the VA headquarters, but from across VA.”

“Lincoln’s words from the Second Inaugural [are] I had called the most biblically righteous address ever given by an American president, [and] were really responsible for the creation of, firstly, a Veterans’ Bureau, and then now, the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he added. “The VA was birthed because of that speech.” 

“[Lincoln’s] words were simple, ‘We will care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.’ There are elements in the House who say that that is sexist and not inclusive. The interesting thing is that under the Trump administration, unlike the Obama-Biden administration, we had an 84 percent approval rating from the women veterans. That was unheard of during the previous four years.”

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“But this is just part and parcel of a wholesale attempt to destroy the meaning of the American epic. If you can if you can rewrite the past, you can control the present, and President Trump was very clear back when Charlottesville hit that the Confederate statues were really the low-hanging fruit, that they weren’t going to stop there, it would be Washington and Jefferson next, and that is exactly what’s happened,” he continued.

Wilkie said he expected the bill to pass the House, though it faced an uncertain path in the Senate.

He warned of the continued dangers of cancel culture and censorship.

He stated, “We are at a very dangerous point of inflection here, and it’s important on Memorial Day, because of what soldiers fought for, something that I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about. Our country is the aggregation of historical memory [and] religious memory that goes back to ancient Jerusalem, flows through Athens and Rome and into London, and then comes here.”

“We are what our ancestors have been, and to destroy that destroys the very reason that people fight and die and sacrifice to preserve this country,” he determined.

Wilkie described Democrats calling for the rewrite of the VA’s motto as a “woke mob.”

Legislation to rewrite Lincoln’s words in the VA’s motto is co-sponsored by Republican politicians, including Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

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Longtime Virginia Sen. John Warner dies at 94 

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Former Sen. John Warner, the longest serving Republican senator in Virginia’s history, died of heart failure Tuesday evening at the age of 94.
The senator’s death was announced in an email from Susan Magill, his longtime chief of staff, to other former staffers that was shared with POLITICO.
“It is with great sorrow that I share our dear Senator Warner peacefully passed away Tuesday evening at home of heart failure,” Magill wrote. “We were fortunate to work for someone who cared so much for us.”

Warner represented Virginia for 30 years, from 1979 until 2009, and was its last Republican senator as the commonwealth has shifted toward the left in recent years. He was succeeded by current Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who ran against him and lost in 1996. (The two are not related.)
“John Warner was a consummate statesman and a public servant who always put Virginia before politics; who put the nation’s security before partisanship; who put the country’s needs above his own,” Warner said in a statement, adding that the two drew close to one another since that 1996 contest. “I will miss his friendship, because I loved him.”
“I am stunned at the loss of John Warner,” Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement Wednesday. “Virginia has lost an unmatched leader, and my family has lost a dear friend.”
Prior to serving in the Senate, Warner was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War and was secretary of the Navy under former President Richard Nixon. As a lawmaker, Warner chaired the Senate Rules committee from 1995 to 1999 and later served as chair of the Senate Armed Services committee for several years.

Considered an esteemed, moderate figure in the Senate, Warner displayed a willingness at times to buck his own party, including on high-profile issues. The Virginia senator opposed Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court and worked to undermine Oliver North’s 1994 Senate bid to unseat Democratic Virginia Sen. Chuck Robb. He also supported several gun control measures.
“How fortunate, how blessed I have been,” Warner said in a five-page, hand-written note addressed to “my fellow Virginians” after he announced his retirement.
Upon leaving the Senate, he returned to Hogan Lovells as a senior adviser, four decades after departing the D.C.-based law firm to work in the Nixon administration. He retired less than a year ago, at the end of June 2020.
Warner began his legal career as a clerk at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and then as a prosecutor in the city for a handful of years before joining the firm, then called Hogan & Hartson.
Though he was a Republican, Warner made waves when he broke ranks to endorse his Democratic successor in 2014 and sided with Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Warner also endorsed President Joe Biden last year just before Virginia’s Super Tuesday primary.
“There comes a time when I have to stand up and assert my own views,” Warner said in his Clinton endorsement, adding that he was dismayed by Trump’s criticisms of the military.
Warner was also the sixth of actress Elizabeth Taylor’s eight husbands. They divorced in 1982.
Their relationship came about as a result of Warner’s role in helping to plan the celebrations around the U.S. Bicentennial prior to his first Senate run.
Despite his military credentials and marriage to a Hollywood star, Warner initially lost out on the GOP nomination in 1978 to a more conservative candidate, Richard Obenshain, but stepped in after Obenshain died in a plane crash returning from a campaign stop that August.

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Mother’s Day is Still Looking a Little Different in 2021

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New easing of COVID-19 restrictions is resulting in restaurants in St. Louis c ity and county reopening too near full capacity. But if you’re expecting 2019 levels, you’re in for a surprise. 

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Mask mandates are still in place indoors as well as tables spaced at least 6 feet apart to limit the spread of the coronavirus. For outdoor gatherings, masks are not required

There is also a shortage of employees, so staffing issues is causing some delays at many restaurants.

And if you have not bought flowers yet, you might be surprised to know there is a global flower shortage. The pandemic slowed the global flower market, shipping issues, and an unusual cold weather spell in South America to blame.

Mother’s Day is just behind Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Hanukkah when it comes to the biggest days for flowers.

This year may be a heartfelt note.

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