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Old 12-29-2009, 06:15 PM
Leaper Leaper is offline
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What would Bill Clinton's title have been had Hillary become President?

I can't think of how I'd even start Googling this. "First Gentleman" is my guess ("President's Husband" as an official title just doesn't feel right, as it doesn't follow the "pattern" "established" by "First Lady"), but has there ever been any official decision or establishment?
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2009, 07:01 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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In the case of Clinton it would have been an easy problem to defer. It could be left at ex-President Clinton. Do ex-presidents lose their title of Mr. President?

If a woman with a husband that achieved no political status were to become president, I can't even say the word Pa, Pa, Pa, Pal...... Then, I don't know.

Also, Is "First Lady" an official title? If not, it allows all kinds of wiggle room.

Last edited by R. P. McMurphy; 12-29-2009 at 07:02 PM..
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2009, 07:10 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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"First Lady" is not a title, it's a popular label with no official basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartydog View Post
In the case of Clinton it would have been an easy problem to defer. It could be left at ex-President Clinton. Do ex-presidents lose their title of Mr. President?
Ex-presidents lose the title as soon as they become an ex-president. Many people address ex-presidents as Mr. President, or refer to them as President X, but there is no official basis for this, and etiquette experts say this is not correct. But it persists in popular culture.

This recent Miss Manners column addresses both issues.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2009, 07:20 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Quote:
The husband of Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901) was her "consort" (that is, "marriage partner") and was often referred to as the "Prince Consort" or "Prince Albert."
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_doesn%...title_of_Queen
Prince Consort William Jefferson Clinton has a nice ring to it.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2009, 07:41 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Gentleman is the male counterpart to lady as in "Ladies and Gentlemen," so you would call him "First Gentleman," if you want to be consistant.

Of course Lady also has "Lord" as a counterpart but we don't go much for "royal" type titles in the good ole USA
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:52 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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From a previous GQ thread:

Q:If Hillary Clinton wins the election, will she and her husband be announced as "The President of the United States and President Clinton"?

A: (from someone at the State Department)
"The announcement will be:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States and the Honorable Bill Clinton"
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2009, 08:26 PM
Kansas Beekeeper Kansas Beekeeper is offline
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Ex-husband?
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2009, 08:43 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Given the same influence Hilary had over the White House Staff I'd have to go with Person in charge of Miscellaneous People.

Last edited by Magiver; 12-29-2009 at 08:44 PM..
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2009, 08:50 PM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2009, 09:27 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
"First Lady" is not a title, it's a popular label with no official basis.
This is true, sort of. You can quibble about both the words "title" and "official," though. There is an Office of the First Lady with several staff members including that designation in their actual titles, which makes it official as all get out in a lot of ways.

Quote:
Ex-presidents lose the title as soon as they become an ex-president. Many people address ex-presidents as Mr. President, or refer to them as President X, but there is no official basis for this, and etiquette experts say this is not correct. But it persists in popular culture.

This recent Miss Manners column addresses both issues.
This is not true. We've had many threads devoted to this. The correct answer is that people who quote obsolete etiquette that nobody knows and only a tiny handful of people in the formal protocol business ever use are full of shit. The correct way for everybody else in this country, all 300,000,000+ of them, to address an ex-President is Mr. President. Miss Manners is a humor columnist, not an expert I pay the slightest attention to.

Last edited by Exapno Mapcase; 12-29-2009 at 09:29 PM..
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2009, 09:38 PM
Kimmy_Gibbler Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
This is not true. We've had many threads devoted to this. The correct answer is that people who quote obsolete etiquette that nobody knows and only a tiny handful of people in the formal protocol business ever use are full of shit. The correct way for everybody else in this country, all 300,000,000+ of them, to address an ex-President is Mr. President. Miss Manners is a humor columnist, not an expert I pay the slightest attention to.
Thread Diogenized in 10, I see.

Last edited by Kimmy_Gibbler; 12-29-2009 at 09:39 PM..
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2009, 09:49 PM
carlotta carlotta is offline
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Our governor is a woman and I recently heard her husband referred to in the context of a tree lighting ceremony as "First Gentleman". Do the other states with female governors follow this usage? If so, I suggest the precedent is already being established.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2009, 10:00 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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I seem to recall that Bill was asked that question during the primaries, and suggested he'd be comfortable with "First Bubba."
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2009, 10:26 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
I seem to recall that Bill was asked that question during the primaries, and suggested he'd be comfortable with "First Bubba."
And I recall him saying he prefers "First Laddie."
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:48 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Then there's Roy Blount's First Hubby from way back in 1990. Even in the context of a humor novel, though, Blount couldn't have the woman be, you know, actually elected as President.
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2009, 07:31 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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FWIW, Todd Palin colloquially referred to himself as Alaska's "First Dude."
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  #17  
Old 12-30-2009, 09:54 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
I seem to recall that Bill was asked that question during the primaries, and suggested he'd be comfortable with "First Bubba."
He said, as panache45 posted, "My Scottish friends say I should be called ‘first laddie' because it's the closest thing to ‘first lady.'"
http://www.nysun.com/national/clinto...-laddie/61910/

I don't think this would have caught on in quasi-official uses but it was a cute joke. Just for comparison's sake, there are four current female governors in the U.S. Their official pages refer to their husbands as follows:

First Gentleman Bob Eaves (NC), First Gentleman Mike Gregoire (WA), ("or "First Mike," as he prefers to be called"), Dr. John Brewer (AZ), and Lou Rell (CT). No title is given for Mr. Rell, although some internet sources call him the First Gentleman as well. So that's two 'First Gentlemen' and two 'we're sidestepping this whole thing.'
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  #18  
Old 12-30-2009, 10:08 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
This is not true. We've had many threads devoted to this. The correct answer is that people who quote obsolete etiquette that nobody knows and only a tiny handful of people in the formal protocol business ever use are full of shit. The correct way for everybody else in this country, all 300,000,000+ of them, to address an ex-President is Mr. President. Miss Manners is a humor columnist, not an expert I pay the slightest attention to.
Going to have to agree with this mostly.

While it may not be "official" the etiquette these days (don't really care what happened 200+ years ago...lots of things change over time and etiquette is one...how many women curtsy anymore?) seems to be to refer to a person by the highest office they have held (assuming they are retired and not currently holding another office).

I was always schooled to refer to retired judges as "judge". Miss Manners seems to indicate that Bush is properly referred to as Governor Bush today. Huh? Why should he keep that and not President?

You would say "former President XXX" if necessary for clarity that you mean an ex-president and not currently sitting one.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:11 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
I don't think this would have caught on in quasi-official uses but it was a cute joke. Just for comparison's sake, there are four current female governors in the U.S. Their official pages refer to their husbands as follows:

First Gentleman Bob Eaves (NC), First Gentleman Mike Gregoire (WA), ("or "First Mike," as he prefers to be called"), Dr. John Brewer (AZ), and Lou Rell (CT). No title is given for Mr. Rell, although some internet sources call him the First Gentleman as well. So that's two 'First Gentlemen' and two 'we're sidestepping this whole thing.'
This brings up an interesting question for me.

I could see Bill Clinton being introduced differently if he was with his wife than if he was not with her when introduced (assuming she was President).

Certainly if she were president I could not see them being introduced as President Clinton and President Clinton. Likely you would get First Gentleman or something in this case.

On his own however I could see him being introduced as President Clinton.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:52 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
This brings up an interesting question for me.

I could see Bill Clinton being introduced differently if he was with his wife than if he was not with her when introduced (assuming she was President).

Certainly if she were president I could not see them being introduced as President Clinton and President Clinton. Likely you would get First Gentleman or something in this case.

On his own however I could see him being introduced as President Clinton.
When together, I could see them introduced as either "President and Former-President Clinton" or "President and Mr. Clinton."
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  #21  
Old 12-30-2009, 03:12 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
and Lou Rell (CT). No title is given for Mr. Rell, although some internet sources call him the First Gentleman as well. So that's two 'First Gentlemen' and two 'we're sidestepping this whole thing.'
Mr. Rell has evidently decided to not be a public figure here in CT. As such, he is rarely mentioned in any media. If any clarification is needed, it is usually only some formation such as "..the governor's husband..."
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2009, 03:33 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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He'll be known as the neutered ex president if Hillary catches him fooling around again.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-30-2009 at 03:34 PM..
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2009, 03:58 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
On his own however I could see him being introduced as President Clinton.
I think the White House would have taken pains to avoid that. They would not have wanted to leave the impression someone else was in charge. "President Bill Clinton," maybe- but I suspect a different compromise would have been reached.
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2009, 04:29 PM
jbaker jbaker is offline
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Bear in mind that, contrary to popular belief, "First Lady" is not the title of the President's wife. Rather, it is the title of the hostess of the White House. If Hillary had been elected President, most likely the function would have been filled by Chelsea. I feel sure that it would not have been Bill.

While there probably would have been some jocular references to Bill as the First Gentleman, in general he likely would have continued with his actual title of Former President, upgraded to the courtesy title of Mr. President when that would not cause confusion or be barred by protocol.
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  #25  
Old 12-30-2009, 05:49 PM
Xotan Xotan is offline
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Ireland has had two women presidents - one still in office. Their husbands have no standing in the eyes of the state or of the people. There is no provision in the constitution for such a thing. The idea of the wife or husband of the president having any official, or even semi-official role, would be quite bizarre. They remain private citizens.

The president, however, when in office is formally addressed as (in Irish) A Shoillse or (in English) Your Excellency. The spouse is simply Mister or Mrs. X
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  #26  
Old 12-30-2009, 06:06 PM
YamatoTwinkie YamatoTwinkie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
I was always schooled to refer to retired judges as "judge". Miss Manners seems to indicate that Bush is properly referred to as Governor Bush today. Huh? Why should he keep that and not President?
Miss Manners is using the same logic that George Washington had : "There is only one President, but there are many Generals"

Hence upon leaving office,

President Washington becomes General Washington
President Bush becomes Governor Bush
Governor xyz stays Governor xyz
Judge xyz stays Judge xyz
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