Among the many historic firsts that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy brings is having a former U.S. President as her spouse. Having a former President as the ‘First Gentleman’ or, as Hillary has said, the ‘First Dude’ is uncharted territory in American politics.
Part of what we'll have to figure out is what do you call the male spouse of a female president? Now 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... but first dude, first mate, first gentleman, I'm just not sure.
— Hillary Clinton on Jimmy Kimmel Live
During the early stages of Hillary’s campaign, President Clinton was seen as a strong plus for Hillary. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released in March 2015 showed the 56 percent of American voters had a positive view of the former President. Indeed, his popularity exceeded that Hillary Clinton and President Obama by a double-digit margin. However, the same poll conducted in July 2016 found that the former’s President’s favorable rating had fallen to 37%.
Active in Hillary’s campaign
Bill Clinton has been active both behind the scenes in developing campaign strategy and on the campaign trail. President Clinton is an inspiring speaker who knows how to rally a crowd. Notwithstanding the recent decline in his favorability ratings, he remains a powerful reminder to both Democrats and Republicans of better times. During his watch, the economy was strong, race relations were good, and America was not yet bogged down in seemingly endless conflicts abroad.
Occasionally the former President has gone off-script during the campaign, but overall his presence in the campaign has been a helpful one. His work through the Clinton Foundation has kept him in the world’s spotlight, and the efforts of the Foundation have been widely applauded. Bill Clinton knows how to work a room.
If Hillary Clinton wins in November, Bill Clinton will be a unique and powerful partner in the 2nd Clinton administration. Hillary has said that she will “turn to him, as prior Presidents have, for special missions and advice.” Bill and Hillary Clinton will make a powerful first couple.
Key speech at the Convention
Tonight, Bill Clinton will address the Democratic Convention, and it will be a speech full of high drama and high stakes. President Clinton remains well liked within the Party and his links to ethnic communities remains strong. He is an energetic speaker, and the pressure will be on the former President and potential “First Dude’ to quell the unrest in the Party sparked by the release of the DNC emails last weekend. The odds are good that the former President will rise to the occasion.