Maurice Alberto (Mo) Rocca is an American writer, comedian, and political satirist, is known for his off-beat news reports, satirical commentary, and as a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1998-2003). Originally from Washington, DC, Rocca graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a B.A. in literature. He served as president of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, performing in four of the company's notorious burlesques and even co-authoring one (Suede Expectations). Later, he worked as a writer and producer for the children's television series Wishbone (1995), The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996) and Pepper Ann (1997), and also as a consulting editor to the men's magazine Perfect 10. Rocca is a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and a regular contributor to CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. He is a regular correspondent for NBC's Tonight Show, most recently providing 2008 election coverage, as well as for MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He was a celebrity commentator on VH1's Best week ever, as well as the I Love The... shows. He was the host of Things I Hate About You on Bravo. Rocca was an on-the-floor correspondent for Larry King on CNN at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which he called an "Obamarama." He returned as a correspondent for the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Question: Does anyone want to have a beer with Hillary Clinton?
Mo Rocca: Well, she has a very difficult challenge in that there’s a whole rulebook on how to be a regular guy, but there’s no such rulebook on how to be a regular gal. And in fact for all things considered, I went out and I asked people about this – what sport, what activity they wanted to see her pursue to make her more likeable – and people had very definite opinions. A lot of people wanted her to scrapbook, which is wildly popular, you know? Maybe to see her bowl. Somebody wanted her to be a dolphin caller or something – a whale caller and a dolphin trainer or something. So it’s very difficult because she doesn’t have a model. You know, Ann Richards is the closest model that exists, and Ann Richards . . . I lived in Texas when she was running for re-election and lost to George W. Bush. But all her . . . All of her ads featured her hunting. That’s a more regional thing, but it was a way for her to be seen as kind of a tough lady; you know who could be . . . who could be an executive . . . a Commander-in-Chief of, in this case, her state. And this is at the core of what I think is so funny about presidential politics, is the bad acting; people trying to convince you that they’re just like you and me. And they’re not. They can’t be because their lives are consumed with fundraising and with, you know . . . with wheeling and dealing. But that’s the fun of it, is how . . . you know is looking at John Carey in the middle of a county music band strumming a guitar and looking ridiculous with a big cowboy hat; or going duck hunting when, you know . . . Sorry. I mean he was probably there for the foie gras, but the . . . The Bush clearing brush was nonsense, and you know some people are just . . . Some politicians are just better actors than others. Some politicians are just better actors than others. They’re just better able to convince you and me that they’re regular people. And I know that Bill Maher had said, “I don’t want a regular person in the White House.” I understand what he’s saying, but people want that. They want somebody that they can relate to. But it has to be very carefully calibrated. Because do you want somebody that scratches himself because you do that? No, you don’t want that. But you also don’t want somebody that windsurfs because that’s too up there. So it’s about finding that level, and to me that’s hysterically funny watching them reach for it.
Recorded on: 2/14/08