Forms of Address: How to Address the President

Jan, 01, 2013


I met President Clinton twice during the time I worked for the City and County of San Francisco. He was more charming than I could have imagined. Upon our first meeting, I had to remind myself that I was about to shake hands with the leader of the free world.

If you have the chance to meet President Obama, will you know what to say? If you want to send him a letter, do you know how to address the envelope? Here are some tips on how to behave if you’re ever lucky enough to meet the highest-ranking official in the United States.

• People who are seated should rise when the president enters the room.

• The president should be addressed as President Obama or Mr. President. (One day in the future, when we have a female president, she will be addressed as Madame President).

• All U.S. presidents retain their title for life, so all former presidents are referred to as Mr. President or President [last name].

• A letter to the president should be addressed as follows:

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

• The salutation of your letter should read: The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, or President Barack Obama.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

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