Mondale role: Not 'second fiddle' but equal partnership in campaign

Walter Mondale, a vice-president who has come close to being an assistant president, is scheduled to share the center stage with Jimmy Carter in the post-convention battle for the presidency -- just as he did here in the final days of the convention.

The Monitor has learned that the President's campaign blueprint has cast Mr. Mondale in a "partnership" role.

The plan calls for the vice-president:

* To conduct an almost nonstop campaign swing through the industrial states of the Northeast and Mideast -- making major addresses and taking part in key events wherever he goes.

And it calls for the President:

* Not only to use his vice-president heavily in the campaign but to emphasize wherever he goes that one of the major accomplishments of his admiration has been the full utilization of Mondale.

"for the first time in history," and administration aide says, "a president has made effective use of his No. 2 man. He's daily leaned on Mondale for advice on all issues, domestic and foreign. The vicepresident's office is right next to the President's -- and Mondale walks in and out of the Oval Office all day long. . . ."

"You know, the very relationship that Reagan and Ford were trying to work out , we've put into effect. I only wish they had called me. I would have told them how the President and vice-president have worked out this uniquely close relationship.

The Carter campaign plan includes the following on Mondale strategy:

* The Mondale effort will be concerntrated in the following states: Minnesota , Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, California, and Texas.

* Very little if any Mondale campaigning will be done in the South and West, except California, Oregon, and Washington.

* The Mondale political appeal is believed to be very strong among labor unions and blue-collar workers; the Jewish community; blacks and ethnics; farm groups and farmers; liberal groups; and the academic community.

The Carter campaign document also includes a section on the Mondale-Bush debates which makes this assessment:

These debates will be much more important than four years ago simply because of the Reagan age question and, therefore, makes it likely that most voters will be paying close attention to GOP vice-president hopeful George Bush.

Mondale and Bush seem rather evenly matched. Both are experienced in government. Both are pleasant -- neither wields a hatchet or is evasive.

But, this plan says, the President and the Carter team are confident that Mondale will be able to beat Bush in these debates and thereby provide Mr. Carter with a tremendous lift in his campaign.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.