The Daily Show's "field reporters" have dealt with a fair amount of hilariously oblivious responses from interviewees over the years, but on last night's show, correspondent Aasif Mandvi appeared to have been caught off-guard by just how hilariously oblivious his interviewee was.
Speaking with Buncombe County Republican precinct chair Don Yelton on the subject of North Carolina's controversial voter ID law, Mandvi attempted to prompt a reaction by declaring "the law is not racist, and you're not racist."
Expecting Yelton to fire back with an unequivocal "no," Mandvi was instead treated to several long seconds of introspection, followed by, "well, I've been called a bigot before."
Then, as they say, things got weird.
Yelton attempted to explain away the charges of racism — always a good idea — by: 1. Insisting that one of his best friends is black; 2. claiming that the photo of Obama dressed as a witch doctor that he shared on his Facebook page was making fun of his "white half"; recalling how, when he was young, black people were called "negras"; and bemoaning the fact that black people can use the word "nigger" but he can't.
"You know that we can hear you, right?" asks a visibly nonplussed Mandvi.
But Yelton wasn't done yet: In a stunning acknowledgement of the law's true intention, the GOP leader admitted its main purpose was not to prevent alleged voter fraud, but "to kick Democrats in the butt."
Speaking later with the Mountain Xpress, Yelton seemed aware that his interview might make him seem racist.
"The questions were such that the answers can be played with. I expect them to play with my answers for racism," he told the paper.
Update 5:05 p.m.: Don Yelton has resigned his post as precinct chairman effective immediately.
Buncombe GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell called Yelton's comments on The Daily Show "offensive, uniformed and unacceptable of any member within the Republican Party," and called on him to step down.
The state's GOP leadership issued a similar call for his resignation, which he reportedly tendered this afternoon.