Jan 24, 2017

Zuckerberg shuts down the rumors

AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File

Does Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, plan to run for U.S. president?

"No," he told BuzzFeed on Tuesday when asked. "I'm focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative" (the philanthropic organization he's started with his wife).

With that said, it's unclear exactly how BuzzFeed phrased the question and whether Zuckerberg means he has no current plans or never will—details that are crucial in today's carefully crafted communications with the press.

But the signs were there! Speculation over Zuckerberg's potential interest in public office began to swirl earlier this month when he announced he would be traveling to each state around the country to meet with locals. Vanity Fair even rounded up the clues.

  • Zuckerberg had also previously convinced his board to include a clause that would allow him to take a government job without losing control of Facebook.
  • He's hired a former White House photographer, he's dialed back his atheism, and he hired Obama's former campaign manager to run policy efforts for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Alternative scenario: If anything, Zuckerberg is more likely taking a deeper interest in the political system, which he knows he'll have to work with (and sometimes against) to achieve the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's goals, which are lofty.

Go deeper

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to restructure the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.

Go deeper: Six of the biggest U.S. banks have weaknesses in their crisis plans

The new not-normal: The Trump state

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump changed how to run for president. Next, he changed the Republican Party. Now, he’s changing the presidency and the boundaries of executive power. 

In the past week, Trump has purged internal dissenters, imported loyalists, pardoned political and financial criminals and continued a running commentary on live Justice Department criminal cases — despite an unprecedented public brushback from his attorney general.

Bloomberg's rough debut

Photo: John Locher/AP

Mike Bloomberg was booed during his debut debate as a Democratic presidential candidate — indicative of a rusty outing where the former New York mayor looked unprepared to respond to obvious lines of attack.

Why it matters ... The debate underscored the Bloomberg’s campaign biggest fear: It's hard to hide to his prickly demeanor. Bloomberg had all the time, practice and forewarning money could buy — and still struggled mightily on the public stage.