Washington Confidential

Hillary Changes Her Name Yet Again

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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The Democratic presidential nominee front runner changes her official name for political expediency about as often as Barack Obama switched his position on gay marriage.

In a mostly unnoticed bit of political re-branding, the Clinton campaign has informed the Washington Post to now call her “Hillary Clinton,” instead of the “Hillary Rodham Clinton” moniker she has used since 1993.

This is actually the former New York senator’s fourth switcheroo since marrying Mr. Bill in 1975.  She kept her maiden name after the nuptials and throughout Clinton’s first term as Arkansas governor.

But that feminist stance alienated voters and contributed to Clinton’s losing re-election bid in 1980.  “I learned the hard way that some voters in Arkansas were seriously offended by the fact that I kept my maiden name,” she wrote years later in her autobiography.

So Hillary “evolved.”

When her hubby successfully ran for governor again in 1982 Hillary opted for “Mrs. Bill Clinton.”

“I don’t have to change my name,” she told one journalist.  “I’ve been Mrs. Bill Clinton. I kept the professional name Hillary Rodham in my law practice, but now I’m going to be taking a leave of absence from the law firm to campaign full time for Bill and I’ll be Mrs. Bill Clinton. I suspect people will be getting tired of hearing from Mrs. Bill Clinton.”

Once she and Mr. Bill were safely ensconced in the governor’s mansion in 1983 “Mrs. Bill Clinton” started going by just Hillary Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. During the 1992 presidential campaign she did not object when the press mostly called her, “Hillary Clinton.”

But the same week President Clinton was inaugurated the new First Lady’s press secretary told reporters to use “Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

New York Post columnist Richard Johnson, who on Sunday noted the de-Rodhamizaiton, quoted a Democrat saying, “I think [adding Rodham] was a feminist statement.”

Dropping it, of course, might give her more appeal to centrist voters in the general election. But an unidentified campaign worker bee told Johnson that the requested name change was not really a request, just a clarification. Really? Kind of like Obama supporting, then opposing and finally endorsing gay marriage was “evolving” not pandering?

“The Washington Post asked us if we had a preference,” the aide insisted to Johnson. “We said Hillary Clinton was fine. It doesn’t mean that saying Hillary Rodham Clinton is incorrect.”