SNEAK PEEK: Tied Up

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It's not the Oscars . . . though Billy Crystal is hosting.

It's not the Grammys . . . though The Wallflowers (and Elvis Costello) are performing.

It's not even Hillary Clinton's actual birthday (she doesn't turn 60 until Friday).

But Thursday is her birthday fundraiser at the Beacon Theater in New York.

Here are the vital statistics:

--Wallflowers do 5 songs

--Costello does 6

--Clinton talks for 10 minutes

--And there is NO open bar

Clinton's fundraiser comes one day after drinking buddy John McCain launched a television ad in New Hampshire, lampooning her for at one time wanting to spend $1 million of taxpayer money to commemorate what the Arizona senator calls the "cultural and pharmaceutical" activities which took place at Woodstock.

Watch the ad: LINK

"I think it's a perfect trifecta," McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker told ABC News. "It's got the contrast with Clinton, it displays his trademark humor, and it serves as a reminder of his POW story."

The Clinton camp, which remembers McCain's reversal on Bush's tax cuts, took issue.

"Senator McCain should focus more on explaining to New Hampshire voters why he supported the fiscally irresponsible Bush policies that squandered a federal surplus and left us with the largest deficit in American history," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer.

McCain's Democratic critics noticed Wednesday that while the Arizona senator was able to cancel his New Hampshire events to help a conservative judge get on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, he skipped a cloture vote on a controversial immigration measure which would have offered a path to citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

Even though McCain supported a similar measure in the past, his aides indicate that he would have voted against it this time (if he hadn't been rushing to Reagan National to catch a flight to Iowa for a Wednesday foreign-policy speech).

Although he eventually would like to see comprehensive immigration reform, he says that he learned from the tongue-lashing he took earlier this year that the border must first be secured.

As McCain told Sean Hannity during his Sunday post-debate interview on the Fox News Channel, "I got the message, my friend, from you and a lot of people."

As for Thursday, McCain joins Mike Huckabee at an AARP forum in Sioux City, Iowa.

The AARP event was originally intended to be a multi-candidate debate similar to the one held by Democrats on Sept. 20. But with most Republicans turning down the invitation, the format was changed from a debate-style event to back-to-back appearances from McCain and Huckabee. Also, PBS is no longer airing the forum -- though there is a live webcast, viewable here: LINK

As for Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich, the two Democratic '08ers participate Thursday in health-care forums sponsored by Families USA and the American Federation of Hospitals. Panelists will include ABC's Rick Klein. A webcast of the event can be seen here: LINK

Health policy advisers for McCain and Mitt Romney participate in a 10:30 am ET forum sponsored by CQ at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In Cambridge, Mass., New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd speaks about the press and politics at Harvard University at 6:00 pm ET.

And, of course, President Bush makes his trip to Southern California to view the fire destruction.

The White House. . .

PRESIDENT BUSH

-- Travels to Southern California to view fire destruction

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