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?

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.

“First Lady” is not a title, it’s a popular label with no official basis.

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.


Prince Consort William Jefferson Clinton has a nice ring to it.

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 :slight_smile:

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”?

[post=9121079]A: (from someone at the State Department)[/post]
“The announcement will be:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States and the Honorable Bill Clinton”

Ex-husband?

Given the same influence Hilary had over the White House Staff I’d have to go with Person in charge of Miscellaneous People.

“Boy.”

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

FWIW, Todd Palin colloquially referred to himself as Alaska’s “First Dude.”

He said, as panache45 posted, “My Scottish friends say I should be called ‘first laddie’ because it’s the closest thing to ‘first lady.’”

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.’

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.

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.”