Mark Zuckerberg says he's not running for president, but he's up to... something.
Zuckerberg's on a mission to visit all 50 states by the end of 2017, meeting people and just, you know, man, like, listening to them. And The Zuck has enlisted the services of former Hillary Clinton pollster Joel Benenson, who is conducting research for the philanthropic Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
The stories have gone from "Will Mark Zuckerberg run for president?" by The Week in June to "Here’s where Mark Zuckerberg, would-be presidential candidate, stands on the issues" by Recode just a few days ago.
But not everybody is excited about the Facebook founder, who's just 33 (he would, though, meet the constitutional requirement of being 35 in order to be president), running for political office.
Los Angeles street artist Sabo last week posted several photos on Facebook showing his latest work: “F*ck Zuck 2020.” The posters, displayed in Pasedena, have the little Facebook hand, but it's not a thumb's up (it's a different digit).
Zuckerberg, meanwhile, says he's not planning a run.
"Some of you have asked if this challenge means I'm running for public office. I'm not," he wrote in a Facebook post earlier this year. "I'm doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we're best serving our community of almost 2 billion people at Facebook and doing the best work to promote equal opportunity at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative," the philanthropy run by him and his wife.
Still, the hiring of Benenson raised eyebrow. Plus, in January, the Zuckerbergs hired another top political adviser -- David Plouffe, who was the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run — as president of policy and advocacy. On the Republican side, Ken Mehlman, who ran President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, also sits on the philanthropy's board. Also on board is Amy Dudley, a former communications adviser to Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.
Then again, a guy with $45 billion can pretty much do what he wants. Maybe he'll just buy the presidency.