Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday he was just speculating when he suggested Bush political guru Karl Rove as the source of bogus National Guard documents that blew up a CBS 60 Minutes story on the president's service in the guard.
But he also called for a congressional investigation into media manipulation.
The blogosphere had been abuzz over comments he made in a town meeting in Ithaca, N.Y., over the weekend.
Hinchey, appearing on CNN, said his comments came in response to a broader question of administration manipulation of the media, citing Armstrong Williams and online "journalist"Jeff Gannon.
When asked about Dan Rather and the National Guard story at that town meeting, he said he wouldn't be surprised if it had come from Karl Rove, saying it would take someone brilliant, cynical and Machiavellian to plant the documents, and adding it would not take a lot of imagination to fit Rove to that description.
When CNN Anchor Judy Woodruff asked whether his round-about accusation was just "imagination," he conceded it was, but also said there was a great deal of circumstantial evidence, thought he characterized that as simply as a pattern of alleged dirty tricks in the 1970's, 80's and 90's.
When Woodruff asked Hinchey whether he thought it was irresponsible to offer up Rove on speculation alone, he said no, adding that it was important to keep speculating, and for Congress to "get to the bottom of this."