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Political Hotel Persuasions, From Both Sides of the Aisle

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February 3, 2010 at 3:25 PM | by | ()

So far this week we’ve told you about his-and-hers hotel requests by the rich and famous. It’s not just celebrity songstresses and notorious blowhards who require all sorts of fancy amenities at hotels though.

Not ones to stay away from the spotlight, politicians are demanding hotel guests in an entirely different class—often with safety and conferencing requirements that have whole hotel staffs (and national security forces) scrambling. Then again, sometimes all they want is an Atkins bar and some decaf coffee. Here are a few of our favorites that we came across.

Caribou Barbie Wants Her Skinny Mocha!
It's understood that Sarah Palin is a world-class diva by now, but when she stayed at New York’s Omni Berkshire Hotel last October for her appearance on Saturday Night Live, her list of demands struck us as rather simple actually, if a little bizarre.

She turned the tables on her most famous impersonator and checked in under the pseudonym “Tina.” As in, Fey. Once settled in her suite, the requests started rolling in. TMZ reported the VP candidate asked the hotel to stock her suite with diet sodas, Atkins bars, skinny white mochas (no whip!), and thin red coffee stirrers. Republican red, that is. She also asked for copies of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Post, Daily News, and USA Today. If only Katie Couric had been around to see her!

For When He Emerges From His Secret Underground Lair
Speaking of Vice Presidents, back in 2006, The Smoking Gun got its hands on Dick Cheney’s hotel room checklist from the 2004 presidential campaign. It reads like a laundry list of grumpy old man necessities.

Decaf coffee must be ready upon his arrival, along with cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite. If Mrs. Cheney is with him, there also needs to be sparkling water—either Calistoga or Perrier (maybe they call it “freedom water”). The VP also wants the room at a temperate 68 degrees (so much for the accepted belief that old people get cold).

Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, his rider asks that all televisions be tuned to Fox News! We can’t make this stuff up. At least he also asks for copies of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal every morning to keep things "fair and balanced." In a demonstration of ethics that we can’t really quibble with though, his staff must be notified of any hotel gifts left in his suite. To see the full list of Dick’s Demands, go here.

Commander-in-Chief...Of The Bathroom
No word on the specifics that former President George W. Bush likes to have on hand when he travels, but during his state visit to Israel in January 2008, the historic King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the hotel was so eager to please the POTUS that they had a special bathrobe made for him, monogrammed with his name and rank. Not only was the hotel’s entire security and surveillance system totally checked over, but over 10,500 special security forces were in place for his visit.

The Presidential Suite Is Just Not Good Enough For First Lady, er, Senator, um, Secretary of State Clinton
During her own state visit to Israel back in March of 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stayed at the King David Hotel. Although she occupied the Royal Suite as opposed to the more American-sounding Presidential Suite, we figure that’s because the Royal boasts more amenities like a meeting/dining room for up to 16 people, an electronic boardroom presentation screen, several interconnecting bedrooms, and a panoramic view of the Old City. The rest of her massive entourage took over a jaw-dropping 154 rooms (out of the hotel’s total of 237), and needed a dedicated food station kept open on the hotel’s sixth floor throughout her stay.

Showing Brangelina What Real Star Power Is
Even though he no longer has an official government position, Hillary’s hubby, former President Bill Clinton, still gets the presidential treatment at hotels. Daily Mail reported that when he flew into Cannes last May to host the Film Festival’s AIDS Fundraiser, he took over the famous Hotel du Cap—the customary redoubt of stars like Brangelina and Robert Pattinson.

Not only was the hotel on complete lockdown for 36 hours, but none of the other guests were allowed in the restaurant or bar while Clinton was there. Oh, and did we mention the no-fly zone specially invoked over the hotel to keep helicopters away? Sounds like Brangelina could learn a lesson or two about how to keep the paparazzi at bay.

Let's Get This Hotel Ship-Shape
Sometimes politicians even have advice for the hotel industry, and what they’d like to see in rooms. W’s one-time Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is a no-frills kind of guy, and usually stays at the Holiday Inn when he travels. That’s why, when he gave a speech to Holiday Inn’s parent company, Intercontinental Hotel Group, in November, he brought a whole list of gripes (and suggested fixes) with him.

What did Powell have a problem with? According to the WSJ, Powell doesn’t want “to go to astronaut training to figure out how to set a clock radio.” He also suggested using larger print on the complimentary toiletries, joking that “more than once I have accidentally used skin lotion,” (instead of shampoo, we assume) thanks to his no longer perfect eyesight.

Lastly, he recommended better-placed outlets and larger closets. What’s a guy to do if he doesn’t even have room for his dress uniform?

All jokes aside though, Powell’s suggestions make a lot of sense. After all, we’ve almost missed a flight or two thanks to hotel alarm clocks that looked like they belong on Battlestar Galactica.

Now that we've covered what celebs want, tomorrow we’ll give you the rundown on celebrities who have actually gone into the hotel business themselves…and how they’re faring. Stay tuned for our updated celebrity hotel report card!

[Photo: Geerlingguy/WorldEconomicForum/AmericanProgressAction/USArmy/MarcnAmericanProgressAction/WorldEconomicForum]

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