John McCaslin

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, is among Washington VIPs headed to the University of Minnesota Law School on Monday to honor the life and career of former Vice President Walter Mondale to mark his 80th birthday, which he celebrated in January.

To mark the occasion, the liberal Mr. Leahy ordered to be printed in the Congressional Record this week an editorial by Mr. Mondale that appeared in The Washington Post last summer dealing with the office of the vice president, which he pointed out, "I have more than a passing interest in its evolution."

"Almost all of that evolution, under presidents and vice presidents of both parties, has been positive — until now. Under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, it has gone seriously off-track," charged Mr. Mondale, saying when Mr. Cheney took office in 2001 he "set out to create a largely independent power center in the office of the vice president."

"His was an unprecedented attempt not only to shape administration policy but, alarmingly, to limit the policy options sent to the president," he wrote. "The corollary to Cheney's zealous embrace of secrecy is his near total aversion to the notion of accountability. I've never seen a former member of the House of Representatives demonstrate such contempt for Congress — even when it was controlled by his own party."

As for President Jimmy Carter's White House, Mr. Mondale acknowledged "we have been criticized for many things," however "we told the truth, obeyed the law and kept the peace."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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