Tim Cook and Bill Gates Might Have Been on Hillary Clinton’s Vice President List
Would Apple CEO Tim Cook have been a good vice president?
In an email believed to have been sent on March 17, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta listed several choices for the Democratic presidential nominee to consider for her vice presidential pick. While the list, which was taken from the Clinton campaign and leaked this week by WikiLeaks, included some familiar names, like current vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and popular Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, it also included familiar faces in the technology world: Cook and Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates. Also on the list was Melinda Gates, a well-known philanthropist and Gates’ wife.
“Cheryl, Robby, Jake, Huma, Jennifer and I also did a first cut of people to consider for VP,” Podesta writes to Clinton in the email obtained and subsequently published by WikiLeaks. “I have organized names in rough food groups.”
The list includes a smattering of prominent individuals, including politicians, business executives, and well-known philanthropists. The list is believed to be a first-run at possible picks and asks Clinton to add or remove individuals before the campaign could start vetting candidates.
Clinton ultimately picked Kaine in July.
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The email, which was earlier discovered by technology site Gizmodo, is part of a broader initiative launched by WikiLeaks on October 4 to leak emails and other information obtained from Podesta, the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and other sources. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who on Monday had his Internet severed in an Ecuadorian embassy, said the data dump commemorates the site’s 10th anniversary.
If the email is legitimate—the Clinton campaign has not verified their authenticity—it would mark the first time that it’s been revealed Cook and Gates were at least considered for the vice president’s job. Historically, the job is given to a politician in a critical state or with the ability to add something to the presidential ticket. The idea that Cook and Gates were considered shows the Clinton campaign was at least considering a businessperson for the role. In addition to Cook and Gates, the list also included Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz and General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra, among several others.
It’s unclear if Cook, Gates, or any of the businesspeople were included in a short list of candidates and whether the Clinton campaign conducted in-depth vetting on them. However, given Cook’s importance to Apple (AAPL), it’s unlikely he would’ve been let out of his contract to try his luck at politics, and Gates seems pleased with his role as part-time Microsoft aide and philanthropist.
That said, many of the businesspeople on the list have brushed up with politics in the past. Gates has been one of the more outspoken supporters of clean water and helping developing countries. Cook has been a staunch supporter of individual rights and earlier this year hosted two fundraisers: one for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and another for Clinton.
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Apple, Microsoft, and the Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to Fortune for requests for comment.