George Stephanopoulos secured an interview with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, only for it to be canceled at the last minute, the New York Times reported Monday.
The Syrian regime has recently been granting interviews to Western journalists of its choosing. Charlie Rose landed the biggest scoop, talking to Assad for a full hour. Rose later called the interview one of the biggest of his career.
Stephanopoulos was apparently going to follow in Rose's footsteps. Though there was no real public mention of this, HuffPost's Howard Fineman tweeted last week that he had heard something:
Unfortunately for Stephanopoulos, it was not to be, as the Times' Brian Stelter reported. Stephanopoulos got all the way to Beirut before Assad's media handlers abruptly told him the interview was off, forcing him to turn back around.
The only consolation prize Stephanopoulos got was an exclusive interview with President Obama.
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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos pats his face 26 May as he jokes with reporters during the daily briefing about stories that Nanette Hansen, a New Hampshire television anchorwoman, was asked to apply makeup to U.S. President Bill Clinton before an interview. Stephanopoulos asked Britt Hume, an ABC television reporter, if he would do his makeup. (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 29: U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) speaks to White House Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty (L) 29 May, 1993 with his arm around George Stephanopoulos (R) in the Rose Garden of the White House. Clinton announced the appointment of David Gergen to oversee the White House communications operation. Gergen will replace Stephanopoulos who will move to a senior policy roll. (Photo credit should read JENNIFER LAW/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, : A group of White House staffers console one another as White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry (R) and presidential advisor George Stephanopoulos (2nd-R) stand after a memorial service 04 April at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC for US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Brown was killed in a plane crash 03 April near the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. AFP PHOTO Stringer (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
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MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean (L) and political comentator George Stephanopolous (R) enjoy a snack during a campaign stop at the Glendi Greek festival September 12, 2003 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by William B. Plowman/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actress Alexandra Wentworth and husband/Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos attend a special screening of DreamWorks Pictures' 'Anything Else' at the Paris Theatre, September 16, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES - JULY 12: (L to R) President of ABC News David Westin, and anchors Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and George Stephanopoulos speak with the press during day one of the ABC Summer TCA Press Tour at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 12, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
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BOSTON - JULY 26: Former Clinton Adminstration spokesman, George Stephanopolous, working as a correspondent for ABC News, reports from the floor on opening night of the Democratic National Convention July 26, 2004 at the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The White House Correspondents' Dinner
WASHINGTON - APRIL 29: Talk show host George Stephanopoulis arrives for the White House Correspondent's Dinner April 29, 2006, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: George Stephanopoulos and Kirstie Alley dance on ABC's 'Good Morning America' on Military Island in Times Square on May 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair and ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos attend the Conservation International's 14th Annual New York Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History on June 27, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
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In this photo provided by the ABC Television Network, Katie Couric, left, co-hosts with George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America," Monday, April 2, 2012, at the ABC studio in New York. While Robin Roberts is on vacation, Couric returns to morning television as a guest host on GMA. (AP Photo/(ABC, Lou Rocco)
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This photo released by ABC shows Diane Sawyer, left, and George Stephanopoulos during election night coverage early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, from ABC News' Times Square Studios in New York. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik)
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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: George Stephanopoulos attends 'An Intimate Night of Jazz' hosted by The David Lynch Foundation at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Wendy Williams, Ali Wentworth, George Stephanopolous
From left, Wendy WIlliams, Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos attend The Hollywood Reporter Celebrates the 35 Most Powerful People in Media, on April 10th, 2013, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images)