Walter Mondale (1928-2021) was ambitious without being self-centered. Jeffrey Roth’s documentary, “Presidents in Waiting” (aired on CNN in December) made it clear that Mondale reshaped the vice presidency.

Mondale had a great sense of humor. When he, as vice president, read the electoral college results in the 1980 landslide loss to Ronald Reagan, he laughed and smiled broadly–and received a standing ovation.

From a thorough article about him at the U.S. Senate website:

… he was uncomfortable speaking on television, unable to adopt the more relaxed and natural style that medium favored. Balancing these shortcomings were Mondale’s natural decency and seriousness. “The thing that is most evident about Mondale,” Hubert Humphrey once observed, “is that he’s nonabrasive. He is not a polarizer.”

Mondale found the road to the nomination tortuous and unendurable. … The time required to campaign kept a candidate away from his family, his job, and his rest. … On November 21, 1974, he surprised everyone by announcing his withdrawal from the race. Many lamented his decision as a sign that only someone “single-mindedly obsessed” with pursuing the presidency could achieve it.

From “Walter Mondale remembered for decency, sweep of accomplishments,” by Patrick Condon and Hunter Woodall, Star Tribune, April 19, 2021

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