Obama on Dems running from party: 'That's how political races work'

President Obama indicated Friday that he isn't surprised by the increasing number of Democratic lawmakers who are working to distance themselves from the Democratic leadership in Washington.

"Every candidate out there has their own district, their own makeup, their own plan, their own message," the president said during a news conference Friday. "In an environment where we still have 9.5 percent unemployment, people are going to make the best argument they can right now."

Vulnerable lawmakers have increasingly worked to distance themselves from their party's leadership in Washington, in some cases running campaign ads highlighting their votes against the Obama administration's two signature legislative achievements — healthcare and financial reform. 

Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Glenn Nye (D-Va.) are prime examples. All three have run ads touting their votes against the healthcare law. 

Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) have run similar spots highlighting their opposition to cap-and-trade and distancing themselves from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  

Obama suggested he understood that the message would not always reflect the priorities of the Democratic leadership, noting that he fully expects congressional Democrats to be responsive to the sentiment of voters in their individual districts.  

"That's how political races work," he said.