“Some folks may have the luxury to hold out for the perfect,” Clinton told the crowd at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. “But a lot of Americans are hurting right now and they can’t wait for that.”
"Making a real difference for people and families comes first," she said later in the speech.
The remark also recalled Clinton's acknowledgment in a Democratic presidential debate earlier this month that she's "not a natural politician."
Clinton went on to tout her record of supporting both healthcare for 9/11 first responders and stricter gun regulations as a New York senator as examples of the pragmatic reforms she would advocate for as president.
“This is a city that likes to get things done and that’s what we want from our president too,” Clinton said. “I take a backseat to no one in taking on income inequality.”
Clinton repeatedly hit her opponent for his record on gun control, including his vote against the Brady Bill, an act that mandated federal background checks on firearm purchasers.
She also positioned herself as the only 2016 candidate capable of keeping the United States safe from potential terrorist threats.
“Protecting national security can’t be an afterthought,” Clinton told the enthusiastic Manhattan crowd.
The former secretary of state reserved her harshest criticisms for her Republican opponents, calling out Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by name.
"When Donald Trump talks casually about using torture and allowing more countries to get nuclear weapons or when Ted Cruz calls for treating American Muslims like criminals and racially profiling predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, that doesn't make them sound strong," Clinton said. "It makes them sound in over their heads."