- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he doesn’t have any regrets about sitting out this year’s presidential campaign.

The Tennessee Republican in 2014 floated his name as a potential candidate, but announced by early the next year that he decided against a bid.

Corker said after a recent Rotary Club speech in Chattanooga that he hasn’t had any second thoughts about sitting what turned out to be a tumultuous Republican primary campaign in which Donald Trump has emerged as the presumptive nominee.

“I don’t think this year was necessarily the year that a candidate such as myself was what the country was looking for,” said Corker, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I’ve never had a second thought about it,” he said. “Maybe someday, but this year was not the right time for a person like me.”

Corker has turned back speculation about whether Trump might consider him as a running mate.

“It’s not something any of us have any control over,” he said.

But the senator said there would be several questions he’d need to have answered first.

“What someone would need to do is sit down and say,’Is this a way that I can have a great impact?’” he said. “What kind of relationship do I have to this person? And am I going to have the freedom to do things that one chooses?”

Corker had been critical about Trump’s positions on blocking Muslims from entering the country, but had positive things to say about a recent foreign policy speech that led to a phone conversation with the candidate.

“My sense is you’re going to see an evolution taking place where there’s going to be more substantive policies that are put out, and I really do look forward - as I think most Americans do - to see what those policies are,” he said.

A former Chattanooga mayor, Corker was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and won a re-election to another six-year term in 2012. He told the Rotary crowd that his early experiences in Washington didn’t exactly leave him yearning for more.

“Last time it came up to think about running for re-election I had to ask myself,’Is this worth a grown man’s time to serve in the Senate?’” he said. “Because we were at a place where we were almost watching paint dry - nothing was happening.”

But Corker said his outlook has changed since becoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

“Finally I’m in a place where I know that I’m affecting people - and in a big way,” he said. “I really do cherish the job that I do have today.”

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