On Monday, the Associated Press announced that it has changed its official style guidelines: Hillary Rodham Clinton will now be referred to simply as Hillary Clinton.

Clinton reportedly used “Rodham” until late this summer, but is campaigning and filing for ballots without her maiden name.

A memo from the AP’s U.S. political editor David Scott outlined the new protocol:

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Therefore, AP will use simply Hillary Clinton. On second reference, she is Clinton.

If a story includes her husband, the former president, we will say Hillary and Bill Clinton, or Bill and Hillary Clinton, on first reference.

When it is necessary within a story to distinguish between the two people, AP will use Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. We will not use courtesy titles, such as Mrs. Clinton, to distinguish between the two. AP stopped using “Mrs.” long ago.

You know this happened because Justin Timberlake swooped into the Clinton campaign headquarters and said, “Drop the Rodham. Just ‘Hillary Clinton.’ It’s cleaner.” And you’re welcome for that nugget of 2010 topical humor!


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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