It's probably safe to say most Americans are pretty dense about history or politics or even just basic general knowledge. God knows, some of my friends astound me with their cluelessness sometimes.
But you sort of expect the press secretary of the President of the United States, who faces the media every day, often on live television, and who represents the White House on all issues, to be perhaps in the top percentile of smarties.
Unless it's the Bush White House, of course, and press secretary Dana Perino:
Appearing on National Public Radio'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.'"
By her logic, I guess she also doesn't know about WWII or the American Revolution because, you know, they happened before she was born.
At least she's not too bad looking. And, of course, the sad thing is she's probably still smarter than her boss.