Fred Thompson's rivals did not pull any punches when asked about Thompson's absence during the debate Wednesday.
(CNN) - Fred Thompson's Republican rivals made excuses for the presidential candidate's notable absence from Wednesday night's debate in New Hampshire.
"I think that's a decision that Fred should make and maybe we're up past his bed time," said Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"I was scheduled to be on Jay Leno tonight, but I gave up my spot to somebody else because I'd rather be in New Hampshire with these fine people," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
But Mitt Romney poked fun at Thompson's delayed entry into the presidential race.
"[The] only question I have: Why the hurry, why not take some more time off?" said Romney. "Maybe January or Febuary might be a better time to make a decision about getting into this race."
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich