White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied any suggestion that the timing was made to overshadow the GOP debate, as he was repeatedly pressed on the move by reporters.
"The President is requesting this time to address the joint session of Congress at the same Republicans are holding a debate. Would you describe that timing as coincidental?" one scribed asked.
"It is coincidental," Carney maintained, as he basically argued that this GOP debate doesn't rate.
"Look, again, there's one President; there's 20-some odd debates," Carney said.
"This is an important moment for our economy. Congress is just coming back. He is addressing an issue that is of great significance to the American people as well as to the Congress."