Millennium Verboten

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Aug. 2 1998 3:30 AM

Millennium Verboten

An exchange of Cabinet-level e-mail in response to the latest White House directive.

"The language of the Millennium, and the logo (until we hear otherwise), is for millennium use only. ... It is very important to the overall strength and infrastructure of the millennium project [for it to remain distinct] from our day-to-day messages and words that we use."

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--Memo from the White House communications office to speechwriters and other officials, banning the use of certain words reserved for the Hillary Clinton-led effort to welcome the next century. Quoted in the New York Times, Thursday, July 30, 1998

From: rodney@dot.gov

To: secretaries@cabinet.gov

Subject: Yesterday's Millennium Project Directive

D. of Transportation speechwriters implored me to write in protest of yesterday's directive. We're putting together congressional testimony on next year's budget and having a devil of a time finding substitutes for the prohibited words. Specifically, we had trouble dancing around the ban of the words "bridge," "road," and "highway." We appreciate their metaphorical importance for welcoming the millennium, but could you suggest alternatives?

Rodney Slater

Secretary of Transportation

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From: clintonspeak@whitehouse.gov