Would that make Bill 'first laddie'?

If Hillary wins, role reversal awaits U.S.

In this photo taken May 5, 2016, former President Bill Clint speaks in Portland, Ore. while campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

PHILADELPHIA -- This time, Bill Clinton will be the adoring spouse, rapt and smiling when the cameras cut away from the candidate in the spotlight.


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He would be the VIP box watching as Hillary Clinton accepts the presidential nomination Thursday at the Democratic convention.

It's one small step in the role reversal Americans will need to get used to if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.

Already, satires and spoofs are circulating, taking note of Bill's fashion choices, accessories and hairstyle. How about that fetching pantsuit! And that nice head of hair! Whose shoes is he wearing?

After all, that's what political wives have come to expect.

Much of the world is watching this gender shift in the U.S. with a bit of a yawn. Dozens of female leaders have served across Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.

But it's new territory in the U.S.

Bill Clinton seems to be just fine with trading places with his wife, the former first lady. He's shown no hint of awkwardness about his new supporting role.

Historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony of the National First Ladies' Library said that because the Bill-Hillary team is so well known to the nation, it may make the gender shift less startling than otherwise if she wins.

"He'll stand in his tuxedo on the north steps, greeting a state leader beside Hillary in an evening gown. And we'll know that one is now president and one is now first gentleman," Anthony said. "But it'll still be Bill and Hillary. And I think that will probably make the transition a little bit easier."

There's something to be said for familiarity, yes. But it could have a downside, too, given the unsavory chapters in the Clintons' marital history, including his numerous affairs.

Still to be determined: what title Bill would hold on a return trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

How about first dude? That's what Gary Sebelius favored when his wife, Kathleen Sebelius, was elected Kansas governor in 2012.

Chelsea Clinton, interviewed Thursday on NBC's Today show, said her dad "likes to hearken back to his kind of Irish roots, so I think he'd love to be called first laddie."

"I'm definitely voting for first gentleman," she quickly added.

Bill Clinton's title may still be up for debate, but his wife already has been giving thought to the division of labor should she win.

She said in a debate last year: "I am probably still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that. But I will certainly turn to him, as prior presidents have, for special missions, for advice."

A Section on 07/29/2016