Walter Mondale, Former VP Who Lost 1984 Landslide To Reagan, Has Heart Surgery

Walter Mondale, who served as vice president of the United States under President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, underwent heart surgery on Wednesday and is now recovering, said doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“He is resting comfortably and is expected to make a full recovery,” the world-renowned clinic said in a statement. His family requests privacy at this time.”

Surgery on the 86-year-old Walter Mondale, who served a U.S. Senator from Minnesota between 1964 and 1976 when he was elected vice president on the Carter ticket, was successful, doctors reported.

Mondale underwent the surgery just a week after a memorial service for his wife Joan, who passed away on February 3 at age 83. The couple had been married since 1955.

Their daughter Eleanor, a broadcaster and occasional actress who as a young woman was often the subject of tabloid media coverage with her self-proclaimed “wild” behavior, died of brain cancer at age 51 in 2011.

After Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election, Mondale set to work on his own presidential bid. But he came up against a popular president in Reagan and an economy that had largely pulled out of the recession that dragged down Reagan’s early years in office.

At the 1984 Democratic Convention, Walter Mondale became the Democratic nominee for president — and immediately made one of the great political blunders of the 20th century.

In his acceptance speech, he bluntly told the American people that he would raise their taxes.

“Let’s tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I,” Mondale said in the nationally televised speech. “He won’t tell you. I just did.”

As it turned out, Walter Mondale was simply telling the truth. Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his presidency. Mondale was also correct to say that Reagan would not tell the American people that he was raising taxes. But he learned the hard way that such unvarnished honesty is not always what the U.S. electorate wants to hear.

In the November election Mondale lost every state to Reagan except his home state of Minnesota, which he won by a slim margin of under 5,000 votes. He also won the District of Columbia. But the his electoral college defeat of 525-13 was the worst for any Democrat in history.

Walter Mondale later served in the Bill Clinton administration as ambassador to Japan.

The Mayo Clinic provided no details on the type of surgery undergone by Walter Mondale, or what exact sort of heart condition caused him to have the operation.