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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has been catching heat this week from top Republicans over his favorable remarks about former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, the leading Democrat in the race to fill Corker's Senate seat. (File photo, Justin Gilliland/The New York Times)

Poor Bob. Corker, that is.

Our Republican senator, who opted not to run for re-election this year, is caught between a GOP rock and a GOP hard place. Of course, his mouth doesn't help him.

Many headlines this week recounted Corker's "tepid" endorsement of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the leading Republican to succeed him in the Senate.

The trouble began when Corker, a Republican, spoke with praise at last week's Christian Science Monitor breakfast about Phil Bredeson, Tennessee's former governor and the leading Democrat seeking Corker's Senate seat. Corker said he wouldn't campaign "against someone who I've been a friend with and worked with."

Quickly, The Washington Post reported that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled Corker aside and scolded him.

"McConnell told Corker his comments were unhelpful — both in the Tennessee race and in the larger battle for the Senate majority," the Post wrote. "McConnell also reminded Corker that Republicans were in the current situation [struggling to hold on to a razor-thin majority in midterm elections] only because Corker had decided to retire."

That left Corker this week answering uncomfortable questions from TV news hosts — and jabbing back, as he is known to do.

"Well, I'm supporting the nominee," Corker told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "Everyone knows that. I have sent the maximum check, plan to vote for them. What is unbelievable to me, George, is that the leadership of the [National] Republican Senatorial Committee would leak out this conversation purposely to The Washington Post to get you to ask me questions about this. I don't even know what they're thinking."

He said the same thing to CNN's Dana Bash.

And he never once said Blackburn's name — in either interview.

Touché, Senator. Touché.

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