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White House Press Secretary: What Cuban Missile Crisis?

A charming story (third item) about White House Press Secretary Dana Perino:

Appearing on NPR's light-hearted quiz show "Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me," which aired over the weekend, Perino got into the spirit of things and told a story about herself that she had previously shared only in private: During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and she didn't know what it was.

"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis," said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

So she consulted her best source. "I came home and I asked my husband," she recalled. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.' "

It did have to do with Cuba and missiles--good guess! This counts as somewhat of a relief, however, because it confirms that Perino's general cluelessness on the podium is not in fact an act. And for that bit of authenticity we should all be grateful.

--Isaac Chotiner