Cheney's Road 'Rider': Diet Sprite and Fox News

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Vice President Dick Cheney has certain needs when he stays in hotels on the road, including a television tuned to Fox News and a regular supply of Diet Sprite. Madeleine Brand talks with Andrew Goldberg, managing editor of TheSmokingGun.com, about the Web site's publication of a document that details the veep's standard "rider" — a document identical to those of many touring rock stars.


From NPR News it's DAY TO DAY. When Vice President Dick Cheney travels he has very specific requirements for his hotel room. The temperature must be 68 degrees. There must be 4 cans of Diet Caffeine Free Sprite and all televisions must be tuned to Fox News.

We know this because we saw it on the website The Smoking Gun. The Smoking Gun is known for, among other things, putting up the riders that specify the special requirements that rock stars, actors, and other celebrities have when they travel. Andrew Goldberg is managing editor of The Smoking Gun and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

Mr. ANDREW GOLDBERG (Managing Editor, The Smoking Gun): Thanks so much for having me.

BRAND: So you've published about 200 riders from rock groups and stars like Britney Spears. How does it compare?

Mr. GOLDBERG: Well, it's actually pretty tame, except we never really thought we'd see one from the Vice President of the United States or anyone actually in politics. We hadn't really thought about them in those terms, that they would have riders. But I guess it does make sense that they would. Not as outrageous as most rock stars, but still fun to look at.

BRAND: Give us some tidbits from the rock stars.

Mr. GOLDBERG: Well, the rock stars like things like they may say, like Pearl Jam would say no glow sticks allowed to be sold when they're performing somewhere. Or Pavarotti wouldn't want the lights turned on anywhere in his hotel room. Or Dick Cheney likes his room at 68 degrees, but Mary J. Blige likes hers at 70 degrees. So Elton John likes his between 60 and 70. Paul McCartney talks about the toilet paper that he wants there. As does Pavarotti. What specific brand and how soft it should be.

BRAND: Tell us more about Dick Cheney's specific riders.

Mr. GOLDBERG: Well, he specifies that his bed has to be a queen or king sized bed. If his wife happens to be traveling with him, then she'd like a couple of bottles of Perrier or Calistoga water.

BRAND: Perrier? That's French.

Mr. GOLDBERG: You're right. It would have been considered freedom water, I think, just a few years ago.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: And were there any security requirements spelled out there?

Mr. GOLDBERG: Well, the only real security part of it is if people leave gifts in the suite. Because you don't want to show up, have the Vice President walk in and have a package sitting on the bed that nobody was expecting. So they want to know ahead of time about anything that might be left, gift-wise, and that's really the main security thing.

BRAND: And so I suppose that's a little different than rock stars, who love gifts of all kinds. Or who don't seem to have the same kinds of security concerns?

Mr. GOLDBERG: Everybody loves gift. Rock stars have pretty intense security as well. You look at a Paul McCartney rider or a Prince rider. All gifts have to be given to security. They can't just be directly given to the artist. They have to be brought into a special room where their security teams go through the gifts and make sure that it's nothing too dangerous or nothing that the artist wouldn't want to see.

And in most cases the artists don't end up seeing them anyway. But you know, you have Shania Twain with a dog that goes around, a bomb sniffing dog. So gifts are a part of everyone's life, where people like to give things to people, whether rock stars or the Vice President of the United States. But security is really who the gifts go to.

BRAND: I love on the Bruce Springsteen one, he actually has a special security guard for his, was it Bruce Springsteen, did I get that right?

Mr. GOLDBERG: For his?

BRAND: For his guitar?

Mr. GOLDBERG: He has some valuable guitars, and who wouldn't want a Bruce Springsteen guitar? I don't know exactly what the Vice President would have that somebody would like to snatch and hold onto, but...

BRAND: Maybe a hunting rifle.

Mr. GOLDBERG: Or a jacket.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Yes. One of those fancy jackets. All right. Thank you so much. Andrew Goldberg is managing editor of The Smoking Gun.

Mr. GOLDBERG: Thank you.

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