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: Is Obama too inexperienced?
Mo Rocca::My cynical assumption is that there are mechanisms in place; that there is not so much that a president can do certainly early in an administration anyway beyond, you know, executive orders that don’t have all that much impact. My assumption is that whoever the president is, there are certain things that will be set in place; certain safety mechanisms. Maybe this is a pipe dream. Maybe this is just some way to soothe my own insecurities about somebody who doesn’t have much . . . well in the case of Obama really any executive experience to be fair. But you know the guy he’s compared to . . . The guy he’s compared to all the time . . . The guy he’s compared to all the time, John F. Kennedy, was only a senator before. He wasn’t even a state senator. He wasn’t a community organizer. And while he may have served longer in the Senate, he was a pretty lousy senator – JFK was. Also . . . Can we point out that . . . Somebody on my blog was bitching at me about this, and they said, “Well Lincoln was a senator.” No he wasn’t. He lost. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were part of his drive to become senator, and he lost that race. Lincoln, like Obama . . . I’m not . . . Believe me. I’m not doing this to be weasely. I’m not a big Obama fan, and I’m not . . . I’m not a . . . I’m an Independent. You know and I know . . . I know if you stay in the middle of the road you’re more likely to get run over. And it’s true. I’d be . . . Look. There are a lot of advantages to coming down on one side or the other, and I’m not gonna do it. But he has pretty much . . . I mean he has about . . . He has as much experience if not more than Lincoln did.
Recorded on: 2/14/08