Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired pollster Joel Benenson, who was Hillary Clinton’s top strategist on her 2016 presidential campaign, on Wednesday, increasing speculation about whether Zuckerberg will make a run for the White House.
According to Politico, Zuckerberg brought Benenson, the Democrat who has also advised former President Barack Obama, on board to conduct research for his Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative philanthropy group that he runs with his wife, Priscilla Chan.
Zuckerberg’s group has already hired David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Ken Mehlman, the moderate Republican who ran former President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign and chaired the Republican National Committee. The legacy media and technocrats in Silicon Valley swooned when Mehlman publicly revealed that he was gay in 2010 to Marc Ambinder, who was then a legacy media reporter in good standing at the Atlantic before he moved on to Hollywood and USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism.
Zuckerberg, according to Politico, has also brought on board Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) former communications adviser Amy Dudley. Obama’s former press secretary Ben LaBolt is now apparently one of Zuckerberg’s spokesmen.
While touring the country and asking people he “randomly” meets to not tell the media that he has presidential ambitions, Zuckerberg has been described as a “robot” and an “alien.”
He is either collecting operatives for a future political run or hiring talent to secretly revive “Hot Soup.” Zuckerberg would be the dream candidate for hacks in the permanent political class because he has the deepest pockets and apparently does not really stand for much, which means he would need operatives to create his political identity with various overpriced focus groups and polls. It may be only a matter of time before he hires Mike Murphy and Bob Shrum–unless he actually wants to win a presidential election.
The greatest “tell,” though, about Zuckerberg’s future plans may have been his Harvard commencement speech earlier in the year. Watch the speech carefully and one sees Zuckerberg at some points doing his best to imitate Obama’s mannerisms and speaking style.