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GOP May Come Down Hard on Scozzafava

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Under Fire

Republican Dede Scozzafava is set to learn her fate after dropping out of the special election for New York's 23rd congressional seat and endorsing the Democratic challenger. The Politico reports the GOP could strip Scozzafava of her State Assembly leadership position.

The state minority leader says: "Fundamentally my members are very disappointed with her endorsement of Bill Owens and aiding him in helping achieve the Nancy Pelosi health care plan in Washington."

But those close to Scozzafava say she endured intense pressure from national political forces, including the White House. Ed Cox, New York Republican Party chairman, says: "She was sobbing over the phone."

Scozzafava isn't backing down however. She tells the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I know who I am... I voted with my Republican leader 95 percent of the time... I think that's a pretty good percentage."

Critics Corner

A 23-year-old Iranian college student has become an unexpected hero after openly criticizing the country's chief cleric to his face.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei allowed Mahmoud Vahidnia to question him for 20 minutes at a university forum late last month: "I don't know why in this country it's not allowed to make any kind of criticism of you." But Khamenei countered: "We welcome criticism. We never said not to criticize us... there's plenty of criticism that I receive."

In fact, Iran's leadership is pointing to the exchange as an example of its tolerance. But many Iranians initially thought the event was staged. One young woman said: "I thought it was a hoax, to show us that we have freedom here. But now it looks like it was real." The woman did not want to be identified however, fearing repercussions.

Since the presidential election in June, more than 4.000 people critical of Iran have been arrested there; nearly 400 people remain in detention.

Check the Facts

In remarks delivered Thursday to tribal leaders in Washington, President Obama deviated from the teleprompter to say hello to Dr. Joe Medicine Crow, the only surviving Great Plains Indian war chief: "I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner."

Problem is, Dr. Crow is not a Medal of Honor recipient. That honor is awarded to military members that display valor in combat. Dr. Crow was awarded the Medal of Freedom, which is the country's highest civillian honor.

The president personally awarded Dr. Crow the medal in August.

Fox News Channel's Megan Dumpe Kenworthy contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier