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Monica: Much-Maligned Monicker

Monica Lewinsky's own story is finally headed to the bookshelves. And ultimately, perhaps, the woman at the center of a White House scandal will discover there is life outside the headlines.

But what about her name? Will "Monica" forever be tainted? CBS This Morning Senior Correspondent Hattie Kauffman traveled to (where else?) Santa Monica, Calif., to find out. She asked people on the street the question: If you had a little girl today, would you name her Monica?

Here are some of the answers:

  • "No, I would think twice. I personally like the name, but I would think twice."
  • "No. No wayÂ… I think she'd probably have a really hard time in life."
  • "I never liked the name Monica, and now I like it even less. But it would be a good name for a cigar."
There is no question that, since Monica Lewinsky has become a household name, the name Monica has become stained. It has dropped to No. 97 on the list of most popular names for baby girls.

But even churches bear the name of Monica - that's St. Monica, the third-century mother of St. Augustine. She is the patron saint of women with difficult husbands and wayward children.

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Pop culture also carries its share of famous Monicas, including the Grammy-winning singer and the Courteney Cox character on the TV show Friends. But those high-profile Monicas have been eclipsed by "the" Monica, the one who has meant trouble to anyone who carries the name, like Monica Brown.

"The first thing they'll say if I introduce myself as Monica: 'Oh, Monica Lewinsky." And then there is a little giggle or something like that. And after a while, it gets kind of irritating. It really does," explains Brown.

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