Joe Biden once described himself as “the poorest man in Congress” — but all that’s changing, fast.
The career politician had a nice eight-year run: He lived in a mansion in Washington, D.C. (the Naval Observatory, official residence of the vice president), where he enjoyed the services of a full-time staff, complete with chef. Of course, he didn’t have to pay any rent on the 9,000-square-foot house.
During that time, he pulled in a salary of $230,700, which put him in the 97th percentile, according to this website. And don’t forget, while in office, he hardly spent a penny on anything (he even got his own plane, Air Force Two).
Now, though, Biden’s thinking about running for president for a third time. And there’s good reason for the 76-year-old to jump into the 2020 race: Money. Candidates live the high life, jetting around the country in private planes, lounging in five-star hotels, eating like a king — all while hauling in millions from contributors who end up footing the bill. Nice work if you can find it (just ask socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who owns three houses).
But Biden’s already living the rock star life, giving paid speeches at colleges and theaters all across the country (he even hit Proctor’s Theatre, a former vaudeville house, in Schenectady, New York, recently, not your usual stop). And throughout his tour, he had some heavy demands, just like any bona fide rockstar.
In a document known as a “rider,” in which celebrities and singers and other performers lay out what they want on their visit to a given venue, Biden sounded very much the prima donna. For instance, Biden demanded a specific meal: angel hair pomodoro, Caprese salad, and raspberry sorbet with biscotti, according to the rider.
The rider was part of “An Evening with Vice President Joe Biden,” and follows his “American Promise Tour,” in which he was hawking his latest book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.” The document, which came from an appearance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts last month that was obtained and released by MapLight, Biden was paid $150,000, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“Vice President Biden and staff dressing rooms shall be equipped with a refrigerator and stocked with bottled water, Coke Zero, regular Coke, Orange Gatorade and Black Coffee,” said one entry. Funny, Biden seems more like a Pepsi guy.
Of course, his dressing room was to be labeled “VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN,” and he also wanted fresh towels and a full-length mirror. In addition to his meal, he wanted mixed nuts and a fruit plate at his disposal.
Biden also demanded that no video cameras be allowed in the “meet & greet” (tickets for which were priced at $300, the Sun-Sentinel said) and the rider firmly stated that “no signing of memorabilia or autographs is allowed.”
And he didn’t want people around — not on his way into the venue and not on his way to or from the stage. “10 minutes prior to arival, the access road must be cleared of all traffic. The drop off area must be in a secure area, kept clear of all non-essential personnel and there must be no waiting venue or contracted personnel in these areas during this time.” Also: “Artist” — yes, the rider refers to Biden as “artist” – “Artist route to/from the stage must be clear of any non-essential personnel 10 minutes prior to start/end of the performance.” Ha! Performance!
Plus, everyone working the venue needed to brush up on what Biden looks like. While the rider contained numerous directives on security and clearance — including that all security staff should wear “identical shirts” — it also stated “VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL NOT WEAR A CREDENTIAL.”
Biden also apparently has a fear of audience members hurling bottles and cans (Pepsi cans?) “We request that ALL BEVERAGES are to be poured into cups. Bottles or cans of any type are prohibited.”
And the former veep doesn’t mind a wall when he’s “performing.” “Venue shall provide adequate tensabarrier or rope/stanchion to keep general crowd 5 feet from stage.”
But wait, aren’t borders immoral?
Oh, Joe, you never cease to amaze us.