"Oh, Dana"

The White House press secretary and, like, the "Bay of Pigs thing."

By Tim Grieve

Published December 10, 2007 5:18PM (EST)

At a White House press briefing on Oct. 26, a reporter asked Dana Perino about Vladimir Putin's suggestion that a U.S. plan to base parts of a missile shield in Europe was similar to the events that led to the Cuban missile crisis.

Perino's response: "Well, I think that the historical comparison is not -- does not exactly work. What I can say is what President Putin went on to say, which is that the president and President Putin have said that we can work together on this."

When a second reporter asked whether Putin's comparison to the Cuban missile crisis had been "helpful," Perino said: "I think that -- look, the president has said that we have a good but complicated and complex relationship with Russia. And the president has a relationship with President Putin, one, that he treats him with a lot of respect, and because of that, he's able to have very frank and honest discussions with him. And I think the relationship -- in a variety of ways, we work well together on many different issues."

If that sounds like Perino was buying time or filibustering or otherwise talking around the question, well, that's because she was.

Appearing on NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me" over the weekend, Perino said she "panicked" when she got the Cuban missile crisis question because she wasn't exactly sure what the Cuban missile crisis was. "I really know nothing about the Cuban missile crisis," Perino said. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

Perino said she went home that night and asked her husband, "'Wasn't that, like, the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.'"

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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