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John McAfee: 'I Will Be President. You Can Laugh All You Want.'

Courting the tech vote at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Carmel DeAmicis / Re/code

Computer security pioneer, presidential candidate and noted eccentric John McAfee hit the hustings at TechCrunch Disrupt on Monday, working hard to convince a skeptical press corps to take his campaign seriously.

“I will be president. You can laugh all you want. I’ll bet you a dollar. I will be president or I would not be doing this,” he told reporters. Snickers were heard.

McAfee, founder of the computer antivirus company that bore his name until it was acquired by Intel, is running at the head of his self-created Cyber Party. Like Donald Trump, he’s arguing that his experience running a “multi-billion dollar company” qualifies him for the presidency. He has focused his platform, unsurprisingly, on security issues and believes the next plane hijacking will be a technological hacking job.

“We need to fix our technological problems,” he said. “If someone like me doesn’t step into the presidency, we might as well all go home.” Waving his hands at the crowd that gathered in the press room, he talked about the danger of having a non-technical president in the Oval Office as the country does battle in cyberspace.

Asked about policy issues outside of cyber security, McAfee was vague. On the United States’ relationship with Iran, he said, “We are bankrupt as a nation. We have to save ourselves first.” When the topic turned to police brutality and race, he pulled his wife, who is black, close to his side and said, “I can tell you, black lives matter.”

The tech community would seem to be McAfee’s target audience, but his checkered past could be problematic. He moved to Belize in the late 2000s, but fled the country after being questioned about a murder. A Wired profile in 2012 paints a picture of a manic, unstable man with a penchant for guns and conspiracy theories.

Nonetheless, he campaigned across the conference floor Monday, meeting with app companies ahead of a scheduled appearance on TechCrunch TV.

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