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Just the facts, iReporters plead
(CNN) -- Amid all the partisan cross talk on iReport.com, one plea that keeps coming through is for presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to stop attacking each other and directly address the issues.
"I would like to hear the candidates speak about real issues and stick to the facts rather than see the 'gloves come off,' " wrote iReporter Sherry Simon of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A fellow iReporter in New Jersey echoed that sentiment.
"I know what I would like to see is more talk about the issues and ... their plans for what they're going to do about some of the issues that are affecting us today -- especially with the economy, the energy problems ... " said Felix VanValen of Willingboro, New Jersey. "I would like to see both candidates really step up to the plate, keep it clean, focus truly on the issues, versus trying to stray away from that."
An Alaskan iReporter sought to clarify the format for the candidates:
"It's like they don't know what a debate is," said Mabel Ramsay of Mendeltna, Alaska. "No, this isn't a campaign speech. You answer questions and you earn points if you get everything right."
Sgt. 1st Class Allen Roy Bethea of North Tonawanda, New York, who recently retired after 21 years in the Army, suggests a grammar-school approach:
"Compare and contrasting is a concept that we learned in school," wrote Bethea, who served overseas in the first Gulf War and later at NATO headquarters. "Compare and contrast your policies. Tell us your position, why it is better and then let us think it over.
"Do not distract me with useless information that keeps me off the issues," Bethea continued. "This is a major job interview being conducted by the voters, and we want the facts. Answer all questions!"
Another iReporter wanted to remind the candidates that their debate is not a game show.
"It's time to get down to business and be professionals about this," wrote Ed Flanagan of Cleveland, Ohio. "This is supposed to be the presidential debates, not 'Truth or Consequences.' "
Flanagan wants the candidates to act like grown-ups.
"The American people are sick and tired of all the childish games being played here by both parties and the media," he wrote on iReport.com. "We the people want to hear the real, hard facts of what McCain & Obama have to say about foreign policy. And stay on the subject without slamming each other."
Senator Lindsay Graham of the McCain campaign and Representative Rahm Emanuel of the Obama campaign have negotiated a detailed contract that dictates the terms of the 2008 presidential debates, including who can participate and the structure of the formats. The Commission on Presidential Debates has agreed to implement the debate contract.
Yet, in order to shield the major party candidates from criticism, the Commission on Presidential Debates has refused to release the debate contract to the public.
The MOU runs 31 pages.
It governs "everything from how the candidates are addressed to the permissible camera shots."
Gallup is in charge of making sure "the questioners reflect the demographic makeup of the nation."
"Brokaw selects the questions to ask from written queries submitted prior to the debate."
"An audience member will not be allowed to switch questions."
"The moderator may not ask followups or make comments."
The camera will show only the question asked, not the reaction of the questioner.
"While there will be director's chairs (with backs and foot rests), McCain and Obama will be allowed to stand -- but they can't roam past their 'designated area' to be marked on the stage."
"McCain and Obama are not supposed to ask each other direct questions.
The person who asks the question will not be allowed a follow-up either, and his or her microphone will be turned off after the question is read.