White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday refused to acknowledge that the timing of the photo opportunity featuring Vice President Joe Biden was a reaction to the devastating assessment of Biden from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Carney said the decision was part of a White House effort to give photographers better access after they received complaints.

"It was coincidence," Carney said, pointing out that Biden and President Obama have a regular scheduled weekly lunch.

When challenged by MSNBC's Chuck Todd about the timing, Carney replied, "Again, I can just tell you what the facts are, you can decide for yourselves what you want to believe."