POLITICS
05/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gibbs: North Korea Rocket A "Pretty Big Coincidence"

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, asked by reporters if the administration thought North Korea's rocket launch was timed to President Obama's speech on nuclear proliferation, said he thought it was merely a "big coincidence." Watch:

MR. GIBBS: You know, I was asked a question earlier that I'll go back to. Somebody had asked -- I think Mark asked whether the North Koreans had timed the launch to coincide with the speech. You know, as I had said earlier -- and I should have connected these dots -- this was something that the North Koreans had been talking about publicly for probably more than four weeks.

Q But they knew about the President's visit here, though, four weeks ago, didn't they?

MR. GIBBS: Well, they may have known he was going to be in Prague, but I don't believe -- we had not settled on speech topics four weeks ago. So I think it is a --

Q It's still a four-week window, though. They had -- I mean, they could have done it tomorrow, as opposed to three hours before he delivers his speech.

MR. GIBBS: I think your -- pretty big coincidence, is what it was.

It doesn't change, though -- again, I'd underscore what the President said today. I think it makes more important the topics he discussed today: the danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And again we're reminded -- again we're reminded with need to take swift action to ensure that we do all we can to protect and secure our country and other countries of the world from these deadly weapons.