In court, ex-VP Walter Mondale defends paying woman 70% of man's wages for similar job

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Vice President,Minnesota,Ronald Reagan,Jimmy Carter,Norway,War on Women

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a gender-equality champion who picked a woman to run on his 1984 Democratic presidential ticket, has been dragged into federal court to defend paying a woman $30,000 less than a man for virtually the same job.

In a case that further undercuts the Democrat's so-called “War on Women” campaign against Republicans, Mondale on Thursday testified in U.S. District Court in St. Paul that he did pay the woman less than a man when he was the honorary consul general at the Norwegian Consulate in Minnesota from 2008 to 2010.

The woman, Ellen Ewald, 55, is suing Norway. She is claiming gender discrimination because she was paid $70,000 from 2009 to 2011 to help educational ties between Norway and Minnesota, while a man hired at the same time was paid $100,000 to improve relationships between Norwegian and Minnesota businesses.

Mondale testified that gender wasn't an issue and the jobs were different. The Associated Press reported that he also said he tried to get her a raise when she discovered she was unhappy.

Mondale was former President Jimmy Carter's vice president and ran unsuccessfully against former President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He picked the first female running mate, then-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro.

The Republican National Committee said the Mondale case shows Democratic hypocrisy.

“For all the partisan rhetoric from the Democrat Party about equal pay, it’s outrageous that their former presidential nominee Walter Mondale is defending his decision to pay a women $30,000 less than her male colleague. Whether it’s failing to equally pay women in the White House or on Capitol Hill, the Democrat Party is all about do as I say, not as I do,” Kirsten Kukowski, Republican National Committee spokeswoman, told Secrets.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.