As President Obama makes his rounds on major news nets to plead his case for limited military action against Syria, CBS and PBS may have landed the biggest interview in the hotly-contested international crisis yet: one with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Charlie Rose interviewed the Syrian leader Sunday morning in Damascus, and discussed with the prez his alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians on August 21. Per Rose, who called in to CBS’ “Face the Nation” and relayed details of the interview, Assad wholly denied the allegations.
Assad “denied that he had anything to do with the attack,” Rose said. “He denied that he knew there was a chemical attack, notwithstanding what has been said and notwithstanding the videotape. He said there’s not enough evidence to make a conclusive judgment. He would not say even, even though I read him the lead paragraph of the New York Times today in the story about their chemical weapons supply. And he said I cannot confirm or deny that we do have them.”
Interview with Rose marks Assad’s first interview with an American news outlet in roughly two years.
President Obama, who recently canceled on a Hollywood fundraiser to better focus his efforts on the Syria debate with international constituents, has taped interviews with PBS, Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS that will air Monday night. On Tuesday night, President Obama will deliver a live speech to the nation defending his case for a limited military strike against Syria in response to the alleged chemical weapon use.
Networks, which expect the live address to occur around 9 p.m. EST, will cut into their regularly-scheduled evening programming to accommodate the speech. NBC noted to Variety that the President’s speech will not interfere with the live broadcast of its mega-gameshow effort “Million Second Quiz,” which is set to air as a strip beginning Monday.