Thompson took aim at Romney and Giuliani early Wednesday night.
(CNN) - In his first at-bat of the night, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee didn't hesitate to go after two of his main rivals, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In response to a question about immigration, Thompson accused Romney of supporting President George W. Bush's failed immigration reform plan, and then shifting positons. He then joined Romney in going after Giuliani by also labeling New York a sanctuary city while Giuliani was mayor.
– CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, on the left, introduced the GOP presidential candidates on Wednesday night.
(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist introduced the eight participants in the debate in his hometown of St. Petersburg.
Crist introduced them in the order of the positions they took on the stage, from right to left: Rep. Duncan Hunter of California; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas; Sen. John McCain of Arizona; former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee; former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York; former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Each candidate greeted Crist with a smile and a handshake before lining up for a group photograph.
– CNN writer Jim Kavanagh
Chris Nandor used his YouTube submission to perform an ode to the GOP presidential field.
(CNN) - The first YouTube video clip shown at Wednesday night's debate was not a question. Instead, it was an opportunity for one voter to handicap the Republican presidential candidates in song.
– CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - The CNN/YouTube debates are all about you. Your questions are driving the discussion during tonight's historic Republican debates - but the discussion doesn't end there.
This is your chance to be a part of the Best Political Team on TV and online. We want you to give us your take on how the candidates do.
First watch tonight's CNN/YouTube Debates at 8 p.m. ET. Then, send your political analysis to CNN via I-Report.
Simply upload your videotaped response here.
Your opinions could be part of CNN's post-debate coverage. So go ahead and join the conversation and let your voice be heard!
Go backstage at tonight's CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) - CNN.com's Melissa Long takes a look at what's going on behind the scenes ahead of tonight's CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate.
Tonight's CNN/YouTube debate will likely be heated.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) - The Sunshine State takes center stage Wednesday night in the race for the White House as eight Republican presidential candidates face off in the party's first CNN/YouTube debate.
With five weeks and one day to go until the first votes are cast in the race for the White House, the stakes could hardly be higher.
The candidates will be fielding video questions submitted by the public via the YouTube Web site, just as Democratic White House hopefuls did in July.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Giuliani holds the lead in a new poll out of Florida.
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (CNN) - He may be trailing in the early primary states, but in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, it appears Rudy Giuliani is the front runner in the Sunshine State.
If the Florida Republican primary were held today, the former New York City mayor would finish on top with support of 38 percent of likely primary voters, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday. (Full poll results [PDF])
That's 21 points ahead of his closest rival, Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor received the support of 17 percent of those polled, with Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee tied at 11 percent.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is at 9 percent in the survey, followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 5 percent, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California at 1 percent and Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado at less than 1 percent.
The poll, involving telephone interviews with 300 voters likely Florida Republican presidential primary voters, was conducted November 25-26. The poll's margin of sampling error was plus-or-minus 5.5 percentage points.
The Thompson family arrived in Florida Tuesday for the CNN/YouTube debate.
Somewhere over South Carolina (CNN) - I am in a coach middle seat, flying from Washington, D.C. to Tampa, Florida on US Airways Flight 1491, destined for the CNN-YouTube GOP debate in St. Petersburg.
The child cooing two rows in front of me is Samuel Thompson, potentially the nation’s future first toddler. Come inauguration time, the GOP presidential hopeful's youngest son would be about two years old. The pint-sized campaigner sports short blond hair and a giggly, camera-ready smile.
The whole Thompson clan is on board: Fred, Jeri, daughter Hayden, 4, some extended family, and of course, a few Thompson suits. The former Tennessee senator and wife fly first class, but it’s a far cry from private jets.
On the tram to the terminal, I ask the Law & Order star whether he’s reviewed all 5,000 YouTube questions in preparation for tomorrow’s debate.
He shakes his head and admits, “I didn’t know there were that many.”
– CNN Senior Producer Alex Wellen
CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at some of the YouTube questions not likely to be chosen for Wednesday's debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Nearly 5,000 YouTube questions have been submitted for Wednesday's CNN/YouTube debate, and not all of them are entirely serious. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at those most unlikely to be chosen.
Catch the CNN/YouTube debate Wednesday night, 8 p.m. ET.
Crist submitted a YouTube question for the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate.
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) - Florida’s Republican governor is getting into the YouTube act.
The Republican Party of Florida today unveiled a question submitted by Governor Charlie Crist for tomorrow night’s CNN YouTube debate, which is being held in St. Petersburg.
The debate, which is a first for the Republican presidential candidates, features video questions submitted from YouTube users from across the country and around the world.
“I asked a simple question to the Republican presidential candidates - a question that has a significant national impact but also has strong ties to the State of Florida and our people,” Crist said in a statement. “Would they, as candidates for President of the United States, support a national catastrophe fund similar to Florida’s hurricane catastrophe fund?”
Florida has a state hurricane catastrophe fund and Crist is one of the major proponents of a national version of that fund.
CNN and YouTube received 4,926 submissions to the debate through Sunday night.