The American economy is standing because of President Obama's policies, but it's not yet running at full steam, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton said Friday, making her economic case for the presidency.
Speaking with CNBC Friday afternoon, ahead of a weekend featuring several party contests and a debate, Clinton acknowledged that many Americans do not feel the economy is as secure as it could be.
"I think a lot of Americans are really worried that it's not going to get better, and that's why I'm running on specifics, on policies, on what I think I can do," Clinton said.
The former secretary of state said she recognized that people are "angry and fearful" — in part because of long-stagnate wages and the difficulties of recovering from recession. Clinton argued that the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, set America "on the right path" economically, but "trickle-down" policies under the next presidency diminished that course.
"Even now, when you listen to the Republicans who are vying for their nomination, it's the same thing: It's cut taxes on the wealthy — in fact (GOP front-runner Donald) Trump says wages are too high in America," she said. "They don't have an agenda for the middle class, working people, poor people trying to get ahead, so I think it's imperative that I do everything I can in this election to make the case that we can get back to a growing, vital middle class."
In fact, discussing U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' tax plan, Clinton said it would raise taxes "across the board" on middle-class families, and "probably disadvantage" people on Medicaid. In contrast, she said hers is "sensible, defensible," and "far more responsible than anything the Republicans are proposing."
Clinton also addressed the frequent suggestions from politicians and media outlets that her email practices could derail her candidacy, saying worries about a potential prosecution against her are "not at all" justified.
"This is the same security review that has been going on since last spring," she said. "I'm happy that everybody now has been cooperating and giving information because I think that will finally end this and show that only appropriate steps were taken."
"I know that the Republicans were engaging in a lot of wishful thinking, but this is not anything people should be worried about," she added.
When pressed on emails that were found on her personal server, she emphasized that "there wasn't a single one of those that was marked 'classified.'" In fact, Clinton said her call to make her records public qualifies her as "the most transparent public official in modern times — as far as I know."
The former secretary of state leads Vermont's Sanders in their party's delegate count — 1,031 to 429 by NBC News' count. A candidate would need to secure 2,383 delegates to become the Democratic standard-bearer.
Although Sanders still has a path to victory, pundits said it narrowed appreciably after the March 1 "Super Tuesday" contests, which saw Clinton winning 7 of 11 states.
Clinton has performed especially well in southern states and with African-American Democratic voters. Recent polls suggest she has double-digit leads in the upcoming Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida contests. In fact, exit polls indicated Clinton won an astounding 86 percent of black voters in her party's South Carolina primary last week; she ended up securing about 74 percent of the overall vote.
Sanders, though, has delivered stunning numbers among younger voters, topping Clinton by double-digits within that population in most contests this year.
Clinton will square off against Sanders in a debate on Sunday in Flint, Michigan.
Reuters reported earlier Friday, citing a campaign aide, that Clinton was set to propose a "clawback" tax for companies that outsource jobs or facilities abroad.
The proposal would rescind tax relief for companies after they move those positions out of the country. Several previous years of tax relief would be clawed back, according to the campaign aide, with revenue then going to encourage investment in the United States.
—CNBC's John Harwood and Reuters contributed to this report.