Clinton still defending use of private email, despite campaign's effort to focus on issues

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has apologized, tried being friendlier and several other tactics to jump-start her campaign but was forced again Sunday to devote free TV time to defending her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

Clinton told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that her lawyers and IT people set up the private network and decided which emails were official and needed to be turned over to the State Department.

"I'm not by any means a technical expert,” the front-running Clinton said. “I relied on people who were."

The former first lady and New York senator has said she broke no government rules or laws in using a private network and that she is fully cooperating with investigations.

However, she expressed frustration Sunday with the slow process and compared the multiple investigations to Republican-led probes into her husband's administration more than two decades ago.

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    "It is like a drip, drip, drip,” she told NBC. “And that's why I said, there's only so much that I can control. I can't predict to you what the Republicans will come up with, what kind of, you know, charges or claims they might make.

    Clinton likened the inquiries into her correspondence to controversies like the Whitewater land deal that trailed her husband's campaign and much of his administration, saying that voters in New York elected her to the Senate despite years of political questions.

    "During the `90s, I was subjected to the same kind of barrage.  And it was, it seemed to be at the time, endless," she said. "When I ran for the Senate, people said, ‘Hey, we are more concerned about what you're going to do for us.’ And I trust the voters to make that decision this time around, too."

    The comparison marks a new line of defense for Clinton, who has seen her poll numbers fall amid lingering questions about her email usage.

    Clinton’s favorable ratings hit a low mark in a national Fox News poll released Sunday.

    Thirty-eight percent of registered voters view Clinton favorably, down from 45 percent in May, according to the poll.

    In a separate interview with CNN that aired Sunday, former President Bill Clinton also equated the current investigations being conducted by congressional Republicans and federal agencies with questions faced by his administration.

    "This is just something that has been a regular feature of all our presidential campaigns, except in 2008 for unique reasons," Clinton said. "Ever since Watergate, something like this happens."

    He added: "We're seeing history repeat itself."

    Clinton also suggested the media and Republicans have engaged in a “full-scale frontal assault” on his wife’s campaign.

    Earlier this week, newly discovered email correspondence between Clinton and retired Gen. David Petraeus, when he headed the military's U.S. Central Command, raised fresh questions about whether she truly provided to the government a full record of her work-related correspondence as secretary of state.

    In August, Clinton submitted a sworn statement to a U.S. District Court saying she had directed all her work emails to be provided to the State Department.

    "On information and belief, this has been done," she said in a declaration submitted as part of a lawsuit with Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group.

    Clinton said there was about a month-long gap between her use of a Senate account and her move over to the private server, which was already set up in her basement to handle the former president's personal correspondence. Her lawyers later tried to recover messages from that period, she said.

    After the State Department requested her records, Clinton said her lawyer combed through her correspondence to determine what was work-related -- a process she said she did not participate in. She then requested they dispose of any personal emails, saying she didn't "need them."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.