The President of the United States and the Honorable Bill Clinton

Traditionally, I think, when the President and First Lady have been introduced arriving at a function and whatnot, the protocol has been to announce them as “The President of the United States and Mrs. Bush”, for example. Since a US President retains his title for life, if Hillary Clinton wins the election, will she and her husband be announced as “The President of the United States and President Clinton”?

Could it be “Mr. and Mrs. President Bill Clinton” ?

Maybe. It is a meaninglessly small detail.

Big Bill has said he likes the title “First Laddie.”

My understanding is that it’s not correct to use the title president when addressing a former one, because the title uniquely belongs to one person. Instead, you’re supposed to use the last, highest, non-unique title, so that you’d refer to Bill Clinton as Gov Clinton, or perhaps Mr Clinton.

It is not incorrect to use the honorific “Mr.” for a former US President (or for any other adult male American, for that matter, since we have no system of hereditary titles that supersede “Mr.” for certain individuals).

So there would be nothing wrong with introducing the couple in this hypothetical situation as “The President of the United States and Mr. Clinton”.

So what happens to their Secret Service detail when they’re together? Do half of 'em get the night off, or are their more goons than guests at the party?

What if they had a violent domestic argument, and one attacked the other? What would the SS do? Probably silly, but I’m curious.

Actually, I’ll call that office myself on Monday and ask my question, which is what I should have done to start with. Feel free to close thread.

Mr. and Mrs. President Clinton?

When it comes to the Clintons, no question of propriety is too silly. This has already come up. The Secret Service will resist the subpoena. Cite.


I’m with Kimstu on this. “Mr.” is never incorrect for an adult American man. No public office grants a person a permanent title in the manner of European titles.

The Presidents Clinton

Technically, Dewey Finn is correct. Protocol states that only the current president is called President. The President most certainly does not retain the title for life. Trouble is, everybody in the modern world outside the protocol office (and possibly the style guides at the better newspapers) ignores this.

Anybody who wants to get it right will say President and Mr. Clinton. Period. No alternative. Exactly the same as people say today President and Mrs. Bush.

But that won’t stop people from giving a thousand variations or arguing about it.

How was Denis Thatcher introduced when Maggie was doing an official Prime Minister gig?

Wasn’t it just Mr. then Sir Thatcher. England does not have the equivalent of First Lady. Why bother, they have a Queen and potentially Princesses. :wink:


Not as a former Prime Minister, so I don’t see how that’s relevant.

I’d like to see the thread remain open, and you come back with the answer Monday.

Really? I’m not doubting you, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a former President called “President” without “former” in front. Example?

How about from the William J. Clinton Foundation?

Or The New York Sun

Or some blog-like object.

Or you could do what I did and Google “president clinton” and see what comes up.

I have regularly heard former US presidents referred to as President so and so. I’m surprised to hear that they do not retain some sort of formal title.

Former Canadian Prime Ministers are entitled to the Right Honourable honorific for life.

“The President of the United States and her stud.”