ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) The 10 Republicans who want to be president have taken the stage for their first debate in New Hampshire.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer opened the night with a given, asking each candidate for a brief introduction.
Just minutes in, the Fred Thompson effect is already being felt.
"My name is Thompson - Tommy. I'm the candidate, and not the actor," said the former governor of Wisconsin, alluding to Sen. Thompson, who is not on stage with the other candidates but whose moves toward entering the race have created a buzz.
Blitzer and other journalists will ask questions for the first hour, and then voters in the audience will address the hopefuls during the second half of the debate.
The stage on the campus of St. Anselm College is slightly more crowded than it was for Sunday's Democratic presidential debate, which featured eight contenders, but with two hours to go, there's plenty of room for conversation, competition and controversy.
–CNN.com writer Kristi Keck