Leaked Email Tips Gates, Cook as Possible Clinton VP

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Clinton-Gates 2016? An email released in the recent WikiLeaks says Hillary Clinton considered Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Tim Cook as potential running mates.

The message, sent on March 17 from campaign chair John Podesta to the Democratic presidential nominee, includes a "first cut" of people to consider for vice president. In addition to Cook and the Gateses were GM CEO Mary Barra, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, and Starbucks chairman (and former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics) Howard Schultz.

In total, the list features 28 men and 11 women; 27 are Caucasian, eight African-American, and four Hispanic.

With just under 40 names to choose from—including former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and eventual pick Tim Kaine—it's unclear how close any of these people got to making the ticket. Ultimately, Clinton made a traditional pick with the Virginia senator.

The campaign did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment, but it has generally avoided commenting directly on the hacked emails. They place the blame on Russian hackers, who US officials say are actively trying to "interfere with the US election process."

Clinton's campaign system was targeted by hackers as part of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack, but a spokesman said there was "no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised." Podesta was writing from a personal Gmail account.

The race between Clinton and Donald Trump has certainly garnered a lot of online attention; their most recent debate became the "most tweeted ever," according to Twitter, which tipped more than 17 million debate-related messages.

With less than a month before Election Day 2016, the real-estate mogul dominated online conversation during that debate with 64 percent of tweets to Clinton's 36 percent. Trump similarly monopolized the social network during September's first presidential debate, but it does not appear that all those messages came from actual supporters.

According to a new study from the UK-based Political Bots project, about one-third of pro-Trump traffic was driven by bots, compared to one-fifth of pro-Clinton messages. Researchers from the University of Oxford identified bots as any account that tweeted at least 50 times a day over the four days following the first debate. The team collected data using major hashtags from both sides of the campaign, discovering a total 576,178 tweets benefiting Trump, and 136,639 in support of Clinton, the BBC says.

"Twitter is much more actively pro-Trump than pro-Clinton and more of the pro-Trump Twitter traffic is driven by bots, but a significant number of (human) users still use Twitter for relatively neutral political expression in critical moments," said professor and project lead Philip Howard.

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