Putin, who was inaugurated as Russia's president during the weekend, is sending Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to the United States in his stead.
"It was not a surprise, and it does not at all feel like a snub," press secretary Jay Carney told White House reporters aboard Air Force One heading to Seattle. "It was something we understood and understand."
Carney said President Obama had talked with the Russian president Wednesday and was looking forward to meeting with Putin face-to-face in June at the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Putin said his responsibilities to form a new government in Moscow would keep him from attending the G8 summit at Camp David May 18-19.