Former Vice President Walter Mondale has served as Sen. Amy Klobuchar's mentor for 40 years, ever since she arrived in Washington as a college intern. He thinks she has a good chance of capturing the Midwest states in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"When she came to the vice president's office, she got a job looking at all the furniture to see if it was missing or in usable shape," Mondale, 91, told ABC News. "Even then you could see she was truly talented."
Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, first came to Washington in the late 1970s after Mondale, a friend of her father, hired her. He still remembers how excited she was to be "in the big town for the first time," and said they "connected right away."
"I really liked her and I've been supporting her ever since," Mondale, who spent two terms as Minnesota's senator before becoming vice president under President Jimmy Carter, said of Klobuchar.
Mondale admitted that Klobuchar's campaign has "gotten off to a somewhat slow start," but said her popularity in the Midwest will give her a chance. However, he said that while he thinks she has a chance in Iowa, it could also provide an off-ramp for her presidential campaign.
Klobuchar's campaign provided ABC News with a copy of a speech she gave at Mondale's 90th birthday party last year when she thanked him for his guidance.
Mondale himself ran for the White House in 1984 but was defeated by President Ronald Reagan, ending his political career. Minnesota political operative Jeff Blodgett described him as being "by far the most respected, beloved, and important Minnesota political leader currently alive, and has been for many decades."
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