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Sarah Palin’s Speaking Contract: Lear Jets, Bendable Straws, And Controlled Questions

by @ 9:06 am on April 14, 2010. Filed under Politicos & Pundits, Politics, Sarah Palin


Sarah Palin may paint herself as a woman of the people, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be treated like regular people:

Gov. Sarah Palin may be flexible on some of the perks she needs when speaking in public, but on the question of drinking straws, she shall not bend.

Six pages of the contract Palin’s handlers sent to Cal State Stanislaus were unearthed in a dumpster by students there this week, and one of the many requirements that must be met for the former vice presidential hopeful: two unopened bottles of still water and “bendable straws” must be waiting on a wooden lectern.

That was just one item among the pages of elaborate demands that must be met to land a contract for Palin to come speak at an event. More costly were the requirement for her travel  the venue must supply her with business or first class commercial airfare, or with a private plane. And not just any jet will do.

“The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or, a Hawker 800 or Larger (as defined by interior cabin space for) East Coast Events, and both are subject to the Speaker’s approval. The Speaker Reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time,” the contract states.

What stands out to Politico’s Ben Smith, though, is the extent to which audience questioning is controlled in advance:

“A moderator or a designated representative (designated by the customer and approved by [Washington Speakers Bureau]) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker,” says the contract, under the heading, “Audience Q&A.”

In a separate section covering events conducted remotely, via a satellite feed (usually for a lower fee), the contract reads: “For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened, and a designated representive (by Customer and approved by Speaker via WSB) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker to avoid delay time with a roving microphene in the audience.”

I ran those provisions past a veteran of the speaking bureau industry, who found it surprising and “definitely NOT standard”: Most paid speakers, and certainly the handful of six-figure speakers, take some audience questions, he said, and pre-screening of questions is virtually unheard of.

I could be worse, of course, Palin could ask that all the brown M&M’s be removed before being placed in her dressing room, or that she be provided with a home town hockey puck from every city she visits.

Sarah Palin, livin’ the life of a rock star.

Full contract here:

Sarah Palin Appearance Contract

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