Syrian President Bashar Assad says he didn't have anything to do with a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus last month,which has led President Obama to weigh a military strike against his regime, says CBS News' Charlie Rose.
Rose, who previewed his interview on the CBS Sunday interview show Face the Nation, said he interviewed Assad on Sunday morning in Damascus. Excerpts of the interview will air for the first time Monday on CBS This Morning. The interview will air in its entirety Monday night on The Charlie Rose Show on PBS.
"He does accept some of the responsibility" for the Aug. 21 attack that killed more than 1,400 Syrian civilians, including hundreds of children, Rose said.
"I asked that very question: 'Do you feel any remorse?' He said, 'Of course I do,' but it did not come in a way that was sort of deeply felt inside," Rose said. "It was much more of a calm recitation of anybody who's a leader of a country would feel terrible about what's happened to its citizens."
The White House discounted Assad's denial to Rose that he used chemical weapons. While the Obama administration has not presented evidence showing that Assad directly ordered the strike, the White House maintains that only Assad regime had the wherewithal to conduct such an operation and that ultimately Assad is responsible.
"It doesn't surprise us that someone who would kill thousands of his own people, including hundreds of children with poison gas, would also lie about it," said National Security Council spokesman Bernadette Meehan.
"The common-sense test says he is responsible for this," White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said of Assad during a round of Sunday network interviews. "He should be held to account."
Rose also said Assad "suggested that there would be, among people that are aligned with him, some kind of retaliation if a strike was made." Assad, however, "would not even talk about the nature of the response," Rose said.
"He had a message to the American people that it had not been a good experience for them to get involved in the Middle East in wars and conflicts … that the results had not been good," Rose said.
Rose's "get" of Assad comes as the Obama administration is trying to make its case to Americans and Congress to support military action against Syria.
Obama will conduct six television interviews on Monday to make his case, and he will deliver an evening address to the American people from the Oval Office on Tuesday.