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I'm the most competent to run this country: McAfee

Just when you thought you'd heard all you could possibly hear from tech entrepreneur/man on the run after neighbor murdered/YouTube star mocking his former company/suspect in Tennessee DUI John McAfee ... there's more.

He's running for president.

In his first national TV interview since he said he filed the paperwork to make a run at the White House, McAfee told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday that he's running as a third-party candidate. He said his campaign is "based on the loss of privacy and the loss of freedom, and the fact that I truly believe that our government is dysfunctional and somehow a little bit sick in the head."

McAfee has set up a campaign website and released an official video.

When asked why anyone would vote for him, the cybersecurity pioneer explained: "I have a very huge fan base. Even a funny video making fun of myself put out a year and a half ago got 6 million views. I don't understand it myself. Mostly they're the 18-to-35-year age group, perhaps because they're rebellious, and I've always been rebellious." The not-safe-for-work video he's talking about is no longer on McAfee's official YouTube channel, though it is posted elsewhere.

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The candidate also told CNBC he is someone who created a multibillion-dollar company. "I am quick-witted, fast on my feet and I believe I'd make an excellent president."


John McAfee
Paula Bustamante | AFP | Getty Images
John McAfee

The focus of McAfee's presidency would be on restoring privacy. "Thankfully, Edward Snowden notified us that the NSA had been spying on the American public for years, using tax dollars that I thought were being spent to spy on our potential enemies, like China, Russia, not that they are enemies, but how would we know if we don't use our technology to try to find out?"

Techcrunch suggested that McAfee's cause is right, but the candidate is wrong, that he "may end up doing more harm than good for the issue, given the guy's pretty bizarre antics and his reputation for paranoia." Those "antics" include faking a heart attack to flee Guatemala and get to the U.S. after authorities in Belize wanted to talk to him about a neighbor's murder.

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McAfee responded that he's never been charged with the murder of his neighbor, and that he has agreed to answer questions from Belizean authorities if they meet in a neutral country. "I was wanted for questioning in a Third World country in Central America," he told CNBC. "You understand what that means? They string you up by your heels, put a football helmet on your head and pound it until your brain turns to mush. That's not the type of questioning I was interested in."

As for his recent arrest for DUI in Tennessee, which he earlier told CNBC was a case of taking too much Xanax on the first day of a new prescription, McAfee said a blood test should vindicate him and the case will be dismissed. "Even if it is not, does that invalidate my vision, my experience, my capabilities? I believe we have all made some mistakes."

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At the same time, he expressed admiration for the other presidential candidates—"I think they are all nice people, (but) I think I am really the most competent person to run this country." He highlighted two of his rivals in particular with unusual compliments. "I think Hillary Clinton is very smart and a very gracious woman for having put up with Bill all those years. Donald Trump is smart and obviously a highly refined and competent entrepreneur. The only question I would ask him is, 'Donald, what's with the hair?'"

McAfee hasn't come up with a campaign slogan yet—"have to ask my manager"—but he said he's started raising money, though he's not sure how much. "I've been working 22 hours a day talking to the press and trying to understand the chaos around me."