WASHINGTON (CNN) - In this video clip, former Sen. George Allen of Virginia speaks with CNN’S Wolf Blitzer about Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
Allen, a co-chairman of Thompson’s presidential campaign, discusses Thompson’s performance during Wednesday’s CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate and a Thompson ad targeting GOP rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney that the Thompson campaign submitted to CNN for the YouTube debate.
Allen, whose 2006 Senate re-election bid was undone by his "macaca" video moment distributed via YouTube, tells Blitzer he thinks the Internet’s impact on politics is good for American democracy. “The more that people are informed and have access to information and ideas, the better,” says Allen, likening the Internet to the printing press. Allen also talks with Blitzer about whether he will ever run for political office again. Watch Allen’s Situation Room interview.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - As the country watched Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube Republican debate, CNN had a group of 24 undecided GOP voters react to the debate in real-time through devices called "peoplemeters." In this report, Dana Bash takes a look at how key moments from the debate were received by the undecided voters.
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Related video: Immigration a heated topic
Romney and Giuliani tussled over immigration at the beginning of the debate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the first moments of the CNN/YouTube debate, sparks flew between former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on the issue of so-called sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.
After Romney attacked Giuliani for saying New York was not a sanctuary city, Giuliani responded by saying Romney lived in a "sanctuary mansion" and that Romney employed illegal immigrants at his own home.
Romney denied the allegations.
- CNN Political Assignment Editor Katy Byron
(CNN) - Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee jumped into the immigration showdown with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, saying that although immigrants are part of what makes the United States a great nation, "It's our home. We now get to decide who comes into our home. To place somebody above [those waiting for legal immigration] or in front of them in line is the wrong thing to do."
Thompson said federal funding should be cut off to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
Thompson also took a jab at Giuliani, who bashed Romney for employing illegal immigrants, and defended his own record of employee scandals.
"I think we've all had people probably that we've hired that in retrospect probably was a bad decision," Thompson said, referring to a campaign fundraiser and personal friend who resigned from the Thompson campaign because of drug-related crimes and issues with the IRS.
- CNN Associate Producer Natalie Apsell
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
(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
The GOP candidates on stage in Orlando.
ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) - The leading Republican presidential candidates intensified their fight over who has the true conservative credentials in sometimes contentious debate Sunday night.
A more aggressive Fred Thompson compared Rudy Giuliani’s social positions with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and implied Mitt Romney once held more liberal stands than Senator Ted Kennedy.
Asked if Romney and Giuliani has convinced him they were consistent conservatives, the former Tennessee Senator said, “Well, we've got an hour and a half. Maybe they can work on it.”
Giuliani tried to turn the tables on Thompson, saying, “you know, Fred has his problems, too. I mean, Fred was the single biggest obstacle to tort reform in the United States Senate. He stood with Democrats over and over again. …Fred Thompson, along with very few Republicans, blocked tort reform over and over and over again. That is not a conservative position.”
Defending his own record a day after finishing near the bottom of a conservative voters straw poll, the former New York City mayor, said, “I think it was good conservative record. I think, in every case, you can always find one exception or two to someone being absolutely conservative or absolutely this or absolutely that, but I think I had a heck of a lot of conservative results.”
In another skirmish, Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, blasted Romney for claiming to be the only real Republican in the field. He said, “Governor Romney, you've been spending the last year trying to fool people about your record. I don't want you to start fooling them about mine. I stand on my record. I stand on my record of a conservative, and I don't think you can fool the American people. I think the first thing you'd need is their respect.”