JAWBONE…. The Obama campaign has emphasized its plan to help make college more affordable and accessible to young people. The McCain campaign doesn’t really have a plan, but the Republican nominee does have faith in the power of his personality.

As president, Mr. McCain would take a bully pulpit approach to student aid, aides say. Rather than propose any new federal money, he would jawbone and publicly try to coax colleges to slow their rate of tuition increases using the federal tax exemptions they receive as leverage….

Mr. McCain is also calling for the Pell Grant, which assists low-income students, to be high enough to cover in-state undergraduate tuition…. Mr. McCain, however, has not proposed any new money for the Pell program.

Yes, “jawbone.” If that sounds familiar, there’s a good reason.

Mr. Bush, as a candidate in January 2000, said a president ought to demand that OPEC members increase production. ”The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price [of gas],” Mr. Bush said then.

Remind me, how does it work out when conservative Republicans promise changes based on jawboning?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.