The late Walter Mondale was “a giant in American political history,” President Biden recalled on Sunday at a memorial for the nation’s 42nd vice president.

Biden praised Mondale’s “special sense of empathy” and “special way about him” during the service at the University of Minnesota, postponed due to COVID and held more than a year after Mondale died at age 93.

The president struck a personal tone, recalling how Mondale helped him as Biden mourned the deaths of his wife and daughter weeks into his first term as a U.S. senator.

“Fritz and I first met in one of the darkest moments of my life,” Biden said of the former veep, referring to him by his nickname.

“They helped me find my purpose in a sea of darkness and pain,” he said of Mondale and his wife Joan. “They kept me engaged. They helped me get up when it was easy to give up.”

After representing Minnesota in the U.S. Senate from 1964 to 1976, Mondale served as vice president to former President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. The Democrat lost the 1980 presidential election to Ronald Reagan.

In his praise for Mondale, Biden underscored the contrast between the late politician’s example and today’s bitter politics.

“He united people sharing the light, the same hopes — even when we disagreed, he thought that was important,” Biden said.

“It’s up to each of us to reflect that light that Fritz was all about,” he said.

With News Wire Services

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