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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Teen runner-up corrects geography flub made at pageant

Upton Upton

COLUMBIA, S.C. - This time, the question was a little easier for Miss Teen South Carolina.

After she was stumped by a Miss Teen USA pageant question on live TV Friday night, Lauren Caitlin Upton's confused, mangled response has drawn a lot of attention.

Miss Upton, 18, got another chance yesterday on NBC's Today show when she was again asked why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a map.

"I would love to re-answer that question," she said. "Well, personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on our map. I don't know anyone else who doesn't. And if the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography."

That was much better than the response that included "U.S. Americans" and mentions of South Africa and "the Iraq." A YouTube video has drawn a couple million hits and thousands of comments, many of them with harsh remarks for the Lexington High School graduate who plans to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

She took it all in stride. "Everything did come at me at once. I was overwhelmed and I made a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake. I'm human," she said yesterday.

Miss Teen Colorado Hilary Carol Cruz won the crown. Miss Upton was third runner-up.

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