STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’re- and President Putin has become your unlikely partner in this. And, you know, even in this op-ed, which has stirred up a lot of controversy here in United States, he said, “There’s every reason to believe that the rebels are the ones who used the chemical weapons.” So does that tell you he’s willing to lie to protect Assad?
OBAMA: Well, nobody around the world takes seriously the idea that the rebels- were the perpetrators of this—
STEPHANOPOULOS: He wrote it in The New York Times.
OBAMA: Well, I understand. What I said is nobody around the world takes seriously the idea that the rebels perpetrated this attack. Now what is true is that there are radical elements in the opposition- including folks who are affiliated with al-Qaeda, who, if they got their hands on chemical weapons, would have no compunction using them in Syria or outside of Syria. And part of the reason why we’ve been so concerned about this chemical weapons- issue is because we don’t want- those folks gettin’ chemical weapons, anymore than we want Assad to have chemical weapons. And so the best solution is for us to get them out of there. But- with respect to Mr. Putin- I have said consistently that where the interest of the United States and Russia converge, we need to work together. And I had talked to Mr. Putin a year ago- saying to him- the United States and Russia should work together to deal with these chemical weapons stockpiles, and to work to try to bring about a political transition-
(h/t: Politicus USA)