Listen: 11564291

Walter Mondale declares his candidacy for president from the House chamber at the State Capitol. Potter provides a summary of Mondale’s career.

There's a brief interview with David Lebedoff prior to Mondale speech.

Rough transcript of speech:

1003 WALTER MONDALE Thank you applause. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Governor, for that kind introduction. Thanks a long list of people-Applause. Today, I declare my candidacy for president of the United States applause. I do so with thanks to the people of Minnesota. Because of you, for 20 years I've served in this capitol, I've served in the United States Senate, and I served in the second highest office of the land.

1158 WM Today, I ask for your help again. In the small communities of southern Minnesota, where I grew up-and I know you know them all, Ceylon, Heron Lake and Elmore-we believed in some old American values that do not need any update. When I look back on all the troubles my parents had, losing a farm, the depression and sickness, what strikes me is how our beliefs pulled us through. My dad was a minister. My mom filled our home and our church with love and music. We were rural people; we knew that hard work was the only way to make it. And we knew as Ole Rolvaag once said, "no matter where we come from, we all have the same job to push together for the goal that mankind has been seeking ever since it was the first day. We are here," he said, "to build for a greater justice among men and women." I think that's what Minnesota is all about applause. Our country, too, is built on community. We depend on each other; children on parents, cities on farmers, civilians on soldiers, seniors on workers, citizens on public servants, the sick, the handicapped and the unemployed on us all.

1358 WM With these values we've accomplished miracles. Each new challenge-rebuilding Europe, conquering space, defeating hunger-we've met. But now, in our generation, we must meet our own challenges. Times have changed. A generation ago, this country stocked the shelves of the world. Today, it's hard to find a basic industry in shape for the future. Once we were building the most ambitious highway system on earth, and now our economy is dodging potholes. Once our scientists were sending us to the moon, now there are fewer physics teachers than school districts. Once this abundant country was nearly self-sufficient, now our energy supply depends too much on a foreign cartel. Once we were rich and our allies were poor, now they are strong too and to lead them we must persuade them. Once the nuclear age was dominated by us, now the arms race threatens the fate of the earth. We know we can't solve our own problems by repeating our parents' answers. As John Gardner once said, "a nation is never finished. You can't build it and then leave it standing like the pharaohs did the pyramids. It has to be built and then rebuilt. It has to be recreated in each generation by believing, caring men and women." It is our turn now.

1553 WM If we don't believe or if we don't care, nothing can save the nation. But if we believe and if we care, nothing can stop us. Nothing will stop us, because the future is made for America. Name an advantage that the future requires, and you'll see an asset that we already have. In the years ahead, everything will depend upon economic growth-our jobs, our defense, our commitment to social justice. To get the economy growing again will take people-the skills, discovery, creativity and the spirit of all Americans. We must become an America whose children master basic skills again, whose parents are partners with schools again, whose teachers are rewarded and raise standards again, whose students get the financial aid they need again, whose graduates have the tools for a lifetime of learning, whose employers invest in a lifetime of training and whose educators steer this generation toward excellence. We must become an America where students speak the language of science, where engineers invent the future, where the arts and humanities enrich our spirit, where libraries and laboratories are the best in the world, and where scientists train the next generation of genius. We must have an America whose schools teach the languages of the globe, whose colleges teach the cultures of the world, whose diplomats speak the languages of their hosts, whose exporters speak the languages of their markets, and whose fluency launches a new generation of genius.

1756 WM Next, the future will require international competitiveness, and the heart of competiveness must be a strong, new, national policy to strengthen entrepreneurship, small business, and free enterprise. We must have an America where entrepreneurs have the capital to get going, investors have the risk-takers to back them, businesses have the talent to staff them, products have the foreign markets they need, and capitalists create a new generation of jobs. I offer a presidency that promotes exports aggressively, tears down the barriers to the sale of our services and insists that our trading partners open their markets as wide to us as we open ours to them applause. I propose an era when harbors are being deepened, bridges strengthened, highways repaved and railroads rebuilt. I propose a nation whose factories are the most efficient in the world, whose merger barons stop shuffling assets and stumbles start modernizing equipment, and whose short-term profits become long-term investments. I propose an America where labor and management put the old bitterness behind them, workers are retrained for the jobs of the future, quality is rising, absenteeism is falling and government is a force for restructuring and renewal applause.

2000 WM Next, I seek the presidency to restore our global leadership. Our president must understand and bolster all of our real advantages military effectiveness, economic strength, energy independence, moral authority, alliances that no enemy can weaken and defenses that no nation dare challenge. We must be an America whose social justice at home attracts friendship abroad, and whose voice condemns repression from the camps of the Russian Gulags to the jails of the Latin generals applause. We must see the world as it really is an arena for competition that America can win, where it is our freedoms and our values and our achievements that are the magnet for the world. Finally, I enter this race not just to seek a victory, but to point towards sanity. Our determination to reduce the nuclear arms race applause must be unquestioned more applause.

2156 WM We must stand by the ABM treaty. We must resubmit the SALT treaty. We must negotiate a comprehensive test-ban treaty. We must block the spread of nuclear weapons to new nations applause, and control exports that can be turned into bomb factories applause. We must have a president who masters the arms control process, does the hard bargaining with the Soviets, negotiates a mutual and verifiable nuclear freeze, and at long last reverses the mindless, wasteful madness applause. This is the nation's agenda, and it is mine. I ask for your mandate to seize what can only be called the American advantage.

Tape 2:

0001 WM To invest again in our values, our talent, our competitiveness, our strength and our survival. No president can do this alone, so I ask for something more. I ask for the American people to give their best. I call for stronger families. There isn't a single problem that can be solved without the values we learn at home to work hard, to tell the truth, to obey the law, and to cherish our faith. I call for tougher discipline. You can't become a biochemist by osmosis, it takes excellence. You can't deter crime by ignoring it, it takes punishment. I call for cooperation, everyone must contribute; all must sacrifice. I call for realism. There is a long haul ahead. Politicians must stop peddling quick fixes and all of us remember that education, training, research, enterprise, all of these things take time, but we can do it and I know we will. When people do their best, their effort must be rewarded. Today that bargain is not being honored enough. Too many families are suffering the consequences of high deficits record real interest rates, rising taxes, unemployment and bankruptcy. All across the nation, our state and local governments are being cruelly forced to raise taxes and slash services, weakening our federal system.

0149 WM We must have an America where working people don't have to pay more so the privileged can pay less applause. I call on Congress to chop these deficits down, scale a defense budget to reality, repeal the scheduled tax cuts for the wealthy, repeal indexing and keep our tax system progressive applause. Too many people are losing their trust in government. They expect their president to faithfully execute the laws of the land. Yet, they see this administration cynically undermining and betraying the laws protection our air, our water and our land applause. To earn public trust, our government must be on the side of the vulnerable. We must continue the long American march to broaden liberties. Before this decade is over, I want a president to go to the inauguration and swear to preserve, protect and defend a constitution that includes the Equal Rights Amendment applause.

0349 WM Too many people tell me they feel swept away by the tidal wave of special interest money that now swamps the American political system, and I agree. To dramatize the need for change, my campaign will accept no contributions from political action committees, and I will work to slap controls on PACs, clamp ceilings on campaign spending, close independent committee loopholes, and propose the financing of congressional campaigns publically applause. Ours must be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and I think it's time to say that the government of the United States is not up for sale, and we want it back applause. If we restore trust, the government can act. While government can be a problem, it is not the problem. Human suffering, a faltering economy, a dangerous arms race, a divided America-these are the problems. Today there are American families sleeping in cars, searching for work, and tasting the grapes of wrath. These are our true problems. I believe in social decency, not social Darwinism applause.

0551 WM What I'm saying is this, if we're to pursue the goals that strengthen our nation, we must have a strong, effective, caring government worthy of public trust. I did not begin this journey alone; I began it here with you, my friends who started me out in public life, who sustained me all of these years. I began it with Joan and our children and my family. You've helped me before, and I'm here to ask you to help me once again applause. I know, I know we're going to win, because we have a plan for the future and we have all we need to renew this nation. But the American people understand that they also need a president who knows what he's doing and I know, thanks to you, what I'm doing applause. Thanks to you I served as attorney general, or attorney "genral", laughter as they're known here in Minnesota, for four years in this building. I served in the Senate for twelve years, and thanks to you and the American people, I was proud to serve under President Carter as Vice President.

0751 WM I have the experience. I know the White House. I know where the talent is. I know how to shape a government. I know how to manage and how to lead. I know how to defend this country and I know how to search for peace. I know who our friends are, and I'm on to our enemies. I know the American people and I know myself, and I am ready, I am ready to be president of the United States applause, cheers. I am ready and so are the American people. I have traveled this nation I believe more than any living American. And I know what the people want; they want to get on with it. We've had Vietnam, it's over. We've had Watergate, it's behind us.

0951 WM We've tried the quick fixes, they don't work. Americans want our edge back. They want our schools to teach again. They want Americans to work again. They want convicted criminals to go to jail again. Our nation must lead the world again. The American people want to get going. They are confident, they are ready, and so am I. Let's go applause.

1026 MPR reporter sums up speech.


Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>