WATCH: Miss California coherently pitches Syrian intervention in 17 seconds
It took President Obama 15 minutes to make a similar case...

The Miss America pageant made history Sunday night: Miss New York Nina Davuluri was crowned the first Indian-American Miss America. The contest also included the first tattooed competitor, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail (who won the online "America's choice" award).

But there was also a nod to tradition: Miss America returned to storm-battered Atlantic City for the first time in six years, for example. And, like always, there was one answer in the Q&A section that stood out. This time, however, the response, from Miss California Crystal Lee, is getting high marks — in foreign policy circles, no less. (Watch above)

Daniel Drezner is an international relations professor at Tufts and a blogger for Foreign Policy. Jim Pethokoukis is a conservative economic policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute:

Hunter Schwarz at BuzzFeed says that content-wise, Lee's speech was strikingly similar to President Obama's Sept. 10 televised address to the nation. At the end of his very BuzzFeed-y comparison, Schwarz notes, dryly: "Miss California's answer was 17 seconds long. And Obama's was just over 15 minutes."

David O'Shaughnessy at Ireland's agrees with Drezner. Lee, he says approvingly, "you just answered a question on international politics in a shorter time and better than your own president." That makes her a great antidote to the idea that "each and every contestant in a beauty pageant was a vapid idiot with barely any education or a hold on the English language," he says.

Lee didn't win, despite the strength of her answer — or her well-received ballet routine — but she did take first runner-up, making her next in line to the throne should Davuluri ever have to abdicate. Lee, 22, is a Stanford grad who started her run to runner-up as Miss Silicon Valley. You might have guessed that from her pre-taped introduction at the Miss American pageant:

"Tweet me, like me, text me! Streaming to you from Silicon Valley, I'm Crystal Lee, Miss California."

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.


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