As Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for president Tuesday, a question began to swirl around on the Internet: what will former president Bill Clinton’s title be if Hillary becomes president?
The question has been raised a few times over the course of Hillary’s push for the White House in November, and more recently on social media as the Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia.
And it seems to be a tricky question. One political science professor jokingly told Global News “I have no idea to be honest.”
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Melissa Haussman, political science professor at Carleton University, said Bill would most likely to be referred to as “Mr. Clinton” in formal settings rather than “former president.”
“However, interestingly enough in informal [settings] they could use the designation. But obviously if both (Hillary and Bill]) were attending a function together I’m assuming he wouldn’t have the president title used,” Haussman said in an email to Global News.
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Late last year, Hillary was asked by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel what her husband would be called if she becomes president.
“Would [Bill] be the first man? Would he be the first gentleman? Would he be the first mate? Who decides that?” Kimmel inquired.
First Gentleman swag on display during Bill Clinton’s speech #DemsInPhilly pic.twitter长沙桑拿/mllkZINwwz
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) July 27, 2016
“I think part of what we have to figure out is what do you call the male spouse of a female president,” Hillary said during the November interview. “It’s a little bit more complicated with him because people still call former presidents Mr. President, so I have to really work on this,” Hillary said.
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Kimmel suggested calling Bill “the first president lady” while Hillary suggested “first dude, first mate, first gentleman.”
The former president himself addressed the question in a January 2015 interview with talk show host Rachael Ray.
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“If a woman became president, I could be called Adam,” Bill said, referencing the Biblical first man.
As The Telegraph points out, Hillary suggested early in her campaign that the idea of naming Bill as her choice for vice-president “had crossed her mind’ but was later told the move would be unconstitutional.
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Speaking with USA Today, a former chief of staff to Laura Bush said a likely scenario is Bill would still be referred to as Mr. President.
“He’s entitled to this title (Mr. President) for the rest of his life, no matter what temporary custodianship he has of this or any other position,” Anita McBride told the news outlet.
From suggestions from talk show hosts to social media users, it’s seems that if Hillary wins the White House later this year, no one really seems to know what to call the spouse of a female president.