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Instead of grumbling, Mr. Paul’s campaign decided to hold its own party — in the same hall as the forum. They’re calling it a celebration of life and liberty, the Associated Press reports.

Campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said it has been frustrating to be excluded, especially since Mr. Paul has consistently opposed abortion and is known nationally for his advocacy of lowering taxes.

“It’s just a little head-scratching,” Mr. Benton said.

Ed Failor Jr., executive vice president of Iowans for Tax Relief, said some candidates weren’t invited in order to keep the event from stretching on too long.

Birthday boy

“All together now, let’s sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ to Congress’s newest 40-year-old, Rep. Patrick Kennedy,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

“There’s a party and, naturally for a congressman and a Kennedy, it’s being turned into a political fundraiser for his re-election. We just intercepted the invite, and it looks to be a doozy. It’s [tonight] in New York City and hosted by dad Sen. Edward Kennedy, brother and sister-in-law Edward Jr. and Katherine, and cousin Caroline Kennedy and her hubby, Ed Schlossberg. This isn’t some BYOB fete. Tickets are $1,000 to $5,000.”

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.