On Wednesday, former governor Jeb Bush, R-Fla., uttered the magic words: “I’m running for president in 2016.” The statement, recorded by NBC News, is enough for Politwoops to deem him an official presidential candidate and track deletions from his campaign Twitter account. It is strangely fitting that a spoken slip-up opens the door to the archive of digital slip-ups.
Bush later attempted to walk back the comments, but much like the deletions stored in Politwoops, the statement was publicly made and recorded. When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, uttered those four magic words, my colleague Bill Allison explained, “Under our campaign laws, this subjects the senator to restrictions and obligations expected of all candidates running for federal office.” Before Bush’s unintentional announcement, the Federal Election Commission received a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center that he was running and should be following the rules for candidates’ fundraising.
While it remains to be seen whether the FEC will enforce the presidential campaign laws on Bush following his statement, it’s a black and white issue in Politwoops: You go from likely candidate to candidate when you say, “I’m running for president.” Politwoops, the archive of deleted tweets from U.S. politicians, follows the president, vice president, members of Congress, governors and anyone who is running for those positions.