The photos on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook feed the last few months make him look less like a Silicon Valley CEO, and more like an Iowa Caucus contender.
So is the Facebook founder angling to become commander in chief?
He’s certainly crossing some candidate rituals off the to-do list, like posting pictures of himself eating local fare with some residents in early voting states, donning a fluorescent vest on a factory floor, and even shooting hoops with both of swing-state North Carolina’s most beloved NCAA coaches, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.
“For an engineer and business tycoon to, all of a sudden, be kind-of hanging out with regular people, it does send a lot of political messages,” said Matt Schlapp, President George W. Bush’s former political director. “This is clearly political activity. Is it just to further popularize Facebook? Or is there a more personal goal here?”
But the summer vacation itinerary that closely resembles a Super-Tuesday swing isn’t the only reason political watchers think the social network pioneer may try his hand at politics.
Zuckerberg also recently hired former Clinton pollster Joel Benenson to work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charitable foundation the CEO runs with his wife, which already has former Obama campaign guru David Plouffe on the payroll.
“You don’t tend to hire pollsters unless you want to know what people are thinking,” Schlapp said. “So my guess is the pollster is helping him understand the American people.”