Those ideas were greeted with a cool silence from the White House. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin has reportedly warned that they would cause alarm and opposition on Wall Street. Instead, Clinton is considering ways to encourage corporate responsibility without imposing new regulations, aides said.
In any case, pollsters say Clinton appears to hold the advantage over Republicans on the economic issue, at least so far.
"Voters don't give Clinton much credit for the health of the economy, but they also don't blame him for their economic problems, and the absence of that negative [factor] is significant," said Democratic pollster Geoff Garin.
Moreover, the Republicans have failed to convince many voters that their economic priority, balancing the federal budget, will improve the economic picture for the middle class, said Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center. In a January poll, he said, only 40% of respondents said they believed that they would benefit economically from a balanced budget.
Times staff writer Robert A. Rosenblatt in Washington contributed to this story.