Would Tim Cook or Bill Gates have been good choices for veep?

Internal campaign emails published on Wikileaks show that Hillary Clinton was being advised to consider a surprisingly broad array of vice presidential candidates.

Toru Hanai/Reuters
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook speaks to reporters after meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on October 14, 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign considered business leaders, including Bill Gates and Tim Cook, when seeking possible vice presidential candidates, her leaked emails show.

"Ok, I can breathe again! Congrats on a fabulous night. I am feeling like it's possible to get back to the longer term again," John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chief, wrote her in an email on March 17, just two days after she won five state primaries. He then launched into a long list of potential vice presidential picks that including high-profile figures in business alongside popular liberal politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Those included Apple chief executive Mr. Cook; Microsoft founder Mr. Gates; his wife Melinda Gates, who co-founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has worked for Microsoft; and Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz.

The list, published Tuesday, comes as part of a larger leak of Clinton’s emails published by Wikileaks.

While none of the aforementioned business leaders have ever held elected office, they’d be on a ticket opposing a Republican presidential candidate in the same boat. While active as donors and fundraisers with Democratically-aligned views, it’s not clear that any of the four would have been interested in joining the ticket.

I like my current job at the Foundation better than I would being President,” Mr. Gates wrote in a Reddit AMA earlier this year. “Also I wouldn’t be good at doing what you need to do to get elected. I thought Michael Bloomberg was thoughtful about why it didn’t make sense for him to try and run even though he is a great executive.”

Mr. Schultz had a similar response to the idea of entering the realm of politics last year.

“Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I’m not done serving at Starbucks. Although we have built an iconic brand while providing even part-time employees with access to health care, free college education, and stock options, there is more we can do as a public company to demonstrate responsible leadership.”

Ms. Gates, who is best known for her work in philanthropy, has also served as a board member of Duke University and on the board of directors of The Washington Post.

Cook, who is an openly gay man, would have doubled the historic importance of Clinton’s bid for president, but also has a history of supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle. Since 2008, he’s donated just over $10,000 to joint fundraising committees for both parties, and also hosted a fundraiser for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

The list shows that Mr. Podesta separated the large list of candidates into what he called “food groups,” based on their past experience, or in some cases gender and race. Clinton's eventual choice, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) came from the group of white male politicians.

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