What should we call Bill now?

For those of you hoping that Bill Clinton might get a nifty new title or honorific as the spouse of the new Madam Secretary, you’re going to be disappointed. The Office of the Chief of Protocol at the State Department told me there is no official title for spouses of the secretary of state. But ...

589863_090105_bill2.jpg
589863_090105_bill2.jpg

For those of you hoping that Bill Clinton might get a nifty new title or honorific as the spouse of the new Madam Secretary, you're going to be disappointed. The Office of the Chief of Protocol at the State Department told me there is no official title for spouses of the secretary of state.

But Bill is indeed in new territory. The previous two female secretaries didn't set a precedent: Madeleine Albright was divorced when she served as secretary, and Condoleezza Rice isn't married. So, Bill will just retain his earlier title -- The Honorable William J. Clinton, former President of the United States -- when the Clintons are announced at state dinners and whatnot.

For those of you hoping that Bill Clinton might get a nifty new title or honorific as the spouse of the new Madam Secretary, you’re going to be disappointed. The Office of the Chief of Protocol at the State Department told me there is no official title for spouses of the secretary of state.

But Bill is indeed in new territory. The previous two female secretaries didn’t set a precedent: Madeleine Albright was divorced when she served as secretary, and Condoleezza Rice isn’t married. So, Bill will just retain his earlier title — The Honorable William J. Clinton, former President of the United States — when the Clintons are announced at state dinners and whatnot.

But I have to ask, readers: Any suggestions for an informal honorific? (Keep it clean.)

Photo: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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