It's a simple question with a surprising number of answers

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Credit: Danny Johnston/AP

Now that Hillary Clinton is officially running for president, how does Bill feel about the chance to be “first husband”?

Actually, he joked on the Rachael Ray Show earlier this year, “If a woman became president, I could be called ‘Adam.’ ”

The question – what will we call the husband of the nation’s first female president? – may seem minor, but it has more possible answers than you’d think.

Bill, 68, told Oprah Winfrey in 2007 that his Scottish friends had their own suggestion: “My Scottish friends say I should be called ‘first laddie’ because it’s the closest thing to ‘first lady.’ I’m not so worried about what I’m called as what I’m called upon to do.”

Similar situations in other positions offer inconclusive options: former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s husband Todd liked to be called “first dude,” according to the Washington Post; former congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus liked “first spouse”; and the husband of former Washington governor Christine Gregoire liked “first Mike.”

Miss Manners, an authority on such things, found the idea of “first husband” deeply silly, as she explained in a 2008 column.

The Post notes that “first gentleman” has been settled on by many media outlets, a position echoed by Mental Floss. The phrase even turns up as far back as a 1964 film about a female president, Kisses for My President.

Former first lady Laura Bush had some advice for that husband, whoever he may be and whatever he is called: “Stand back and be quiet.”

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