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Posts Tagged ‘Bashar al-Assad’

Checkpoints, Armed Guards, Bullet-Proof Vests for Charlie Rose on the Road to Damascus

Charlie Rose was back in the anchor chair of “CBS This Morning” today talking about how he landed that wide-ranging interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As we reported yesterday, Rose and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager, Rose’s producer for the interview, traveled to the region late last week and secured the interview Sunday morning.

“I must say that Jeff and I found them, once we got there, they didn’t make any effort to change content, there was nothing off the record. There was no sense of, you can’t talk about this. None. I said, “This is going to be a very tough interview.” And they said “The president would like you to be that way.”

Rose says they crossed several check-points driving from Beirut to Damascus and had bullet-proof vests, but did not wear them. “But we didn’t have armed guards and all those kinds of things,” he told colleagues Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell.

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U.S. Govt. Learned of Charlie Rose’s Assad Interview the Same Time Everyone Else Did

With a choice of having Anthony Weiner, Lady Gaga or Bashar al-Assad on his morning show, CBS News president David Rhodes will take door number 3 any day.

“If we wanted a more stark demonstration of the differences in these shows, I think this morning is a perfect example,” Rhodes tells TVNewser. “We have done more Syria on this morning show than anyone,” says Rhodes. “And we’ve been rewarded for it by viewers.”

That “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose got the interview should not come as a surprise. He’d interviewed Assad before, and has been working for months to secure this interview as the Syrian civil war intensified. “He’s had a track record on this story for a long time,” says Rhodes. The entirety of the interview will air tonight on Rose’s PBS program.

Rhodes’ boss, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager put on another hat this weekend: as Rose’s producer. “When you have a situation like this, you don’t know what you’re going to find when you get there,” says Rhodes. “There’s no substitute to having people there with the experience and confidence to confront that. That Jeff was able to go, is great”

Rose and Fager spent Saturday night in Damascus, before heading to the presidential palace Sunday morning. Hours later Rose was in Lebanon phoning into CBS’s Bob Schieffer breaking the news of his interview. That’s also around the time the White House first learned about it.

Which means it came as news to Rhodes’ younger brother, Ben Rhodes, who is the White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication.

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Charlie Rose Interviews Bashar al-Assad

“CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose got an interview today with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is Assad’s first TV interview since President Obama asked Congress to approve the use of force against the Syrian regime for use of chemical weapons. Rose, now in Beirut, called in to “Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer

“He denied that he had anything to do with the attack. He denied thad he knew, in fact, that there was a chemical attack, notwithstanding what has been said, and notwithstanding the videotape. He said there’s not evidence to make a conclusive judgment. He would not say, even though I read him the lead paragraph of the New York Times today, in a story about their chemical weapons supply. He said ‘I can’t confirm or deny we have chemical weapons.’ He did say, if we do in fact have them, and ‘I’m not saying yes or no.’ they’re in centralized control, so no one else has access to them.”

When Rose asked him if he expected an attack, he responded, “I don’t know.”

The interview will air tomorrow on “CBS This Morning” and on Rose’s PBS show tomorrow night.