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Bill Clinton's name game

July 9, 2007 |  9:56 am

Bill Clinton headlined one of the sessions at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival this weekend, and here's the breaking news: If his wife takes the presidential oath of office Jan. 20, 2009, he suggested that he might eschew the title "First Gentleman" or "First Man" for one suggested by Scottish friends -- "First Laddie."

WillaimAfter joining Hillary Clinton for several days of campaigning in the flatlands of Iowa before traveling to Colorado, perhaps the former president had not yet adjusted to the altitude (roughly 8,000 feet) when he floated this moniker in response to an audience question. And, clearly, it was intended to get a laugh from his audience.

Regardless, he may want to reconsider making the line a staple of his appearances.

The ideas festival, a forum featuring deep thinkers and heavy hitters from various fields co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute and the Atlantic magazine, is exactly the type of venue that Bill Clinton typically dominates. But in critiques of his comments, he did not escape entirely unscathed.

Atlantic editor James Bennet takes Clinton to task for his initial response to a question from noted author Elizabeth Drew about his record in combating terrorism. And the magazine's associate editor, Ross Douthat, relates the unintentional laughter that Clinton sparked when he invoked the D-word -- divorce -- in discussing global interdependence.

Best to include that with "First Laddie" as terms he probably should avoid.

-- Don Frederick

Photo: Bill Clinton; Credit: Eric Thayer/Getty Images