President Barack Obama flunked a basic geography test Tuesday night.
Then The Associated Press flunked a basic accuracy test.
During an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” Obama said: “If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf, places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs.”
The AP misleadingly reported that quote this way in a story that ran on our Thursday Business page: “If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. — if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs.”
The wire service’s addition of (and in) spared Obama from sounding as if he thinks Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville are on the Gulf of Mexico instead of the Atlantic Ocean. Some attentive readers noticed — and fairly objected.
But why dwell on a verbal presidential blunder that rated an “F” in geography?
Hey, if Obama wants to say Charleston’s on the Gulf while also saying our harbor must be deepened, let him say it. After all, he rates a rare (for him) “A” in economics for making that deeper point.
And before putting on misplaced airs just because you know the difference between that Gulf and our ocean, put yourself to this geography test, with a local and state emphasis (answers at column’s end):
Which way is up?
1) Which higher-learning institution is farthest north? a) The Citadel, b) the College of Charleston, c) MUSC, d) Charleston Southern.
2) Which town is farthest west? a) Andrews, b) Florence, c) Kingstree, d) Folly Beach.
3) The highest S.C. elevation is: a) Glassy Mountain, b) Caesars Head, c) Sassafras Mountain, d) Mount Pleasant.
4) Which real estate mogul — and future congressman — named which West Ashley neighborhood by spelling his own name backwards?
5) Which West Ashley neighborhood is named for which former member of the U.S. House, Senate and Supreme Court who also served as U.S. secretary of state and S.C. governor?
6) Which common neighborhood-title suffix in these parts should be discontinued due to ugly historical connotations (examples from Mount Pleasant neighborhoods)? a) Crown Pointe, b) Coopers Landing, c) Old Village, d) Brickyard Plantation.
7) Name our state’s largest county (by area, not population): a) Charleston, b) Berkeley, c) Pickens, d) Colleton.
8) Which Southeastern Conference school is in the league’s Eastern Division with South Carolina? a) Auburn (east of the Mississippi River), b) Alabama (east of it), c) Mississippi (east of it), d) Missouri (west of it).
Go with the flow
9) Name the river dammed (not damned), starting in 1939, to create the Santee Cooper lakes: a) Stono, b) Amazon, c) Tigris, d) Santee.
10) Name the military retreat on Lake Moultrie: a) Shortstop, b) Left Field, c) Right Guard, d) Short Stay.
11) Which of these S.C. towns was flooded by the creation of Lake Marion? a) Ferguson, b) Newry, c) Hamburg, d) Meyers Mill.
12) Name the Berkeley County seat from 1882-95: a) Moncks Corner, b) Goose Creek, c) St. Stephen, d) Mount Pleasant.
13) Name the first — and best — S.C. capital city: a) Six Mile, b) Ninety Six, c) Charleston, d) Clemson.
14) Name the only state with two teams in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll Top Eight: a) Texas, b) California, c) Florida, d) South Carolina.
15) Name the two rivers that converge to form the Atlantic Ocean: a) Broad and Congaree, b) Colorado and Pecos, c) Broad and King, d) Ashley and Cooper.
16) Name the countries alternately billed, depending on shifts in U.S. foreign policy, as the homeland of the Iron Sheik, who drew bitter boos during his squared-circle spectacles here in Charleston: a) Egypt and Libya, b) Saudi Arabia and Yemen, c) Jordan and Syria, d) Iran and Iraq.
Answers: 1) d; 2 d; 3) c; 4) Arthur Ravenel and Lenevar; 5) Byrnes Downs and James Byrnes; 6) d; 7) b; 8) d; 9) d; 10) d; 11) a; 12) d; 13) c; 14) d; 15) d; 16) d.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.