An eagle-eyed interactive web developer at the New York Times noticed some unusual text in the source code (the computer commands that execute a program) of Jeb Bush's campaign website Monday: a summary of the "Die Hard" movie franchise.
The text also included the line, "Also starring Severus Snape," a reference to the infamous Hogwarts professor from the "Harry Potter" series. He is not a character in "Die Hard."
What was it doing there? Hard to say. Bowers wrote on the New York Times' website that it was probably a joke among the campaign's programmers and doesn't compromise the site's function. The extra text has since been taken down.
Bush's team wouldn't be the first to include a hidden message in the source code. Bowers noted that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign site features lines of code that form her campaign logo:
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican candidate, has a pitch to programmers who might want to join his team:
Source code tends to be more of an inside joke among the tech-savvy crowd, but there are other ways to tweak campaigns setting up a digital presence as they launch.
TedCruz.com reveals a site that reads "Support President Obama. Immigration reform now!" (Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had to settle for TedCruz.org). Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, had the opposite problem: While carlyfiorina.com leads to her campaign website, a message on carlyfiorina.org reads, "Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard. It was this many," followed by thousands of repetitions of a :( emoticon. Rand Paul's campaign, according to National Journal, avoided seeing his name-dot-com abused by paying $100,000 for RandPaul.com.