The Washington Times - January 8, 2014, 10:36AM

House Speaker John A. Boehner brushed aside the criticism that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates leveled against Congress in his new book, which also includes a harsh critique of the Obama administration.

In his first press conference of the year, Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Wednesday that Mr. Gates, who served under both George W. Bush and President Obama, has the right to say what he thinks.


“He is entitled to his comments under the First Amendment — just like everybody else,” Mr. Boehner told reporters when asked about the book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” which is scheduled to be released next week.

Mr. Gates, according to excerpts from the memoir, bristles at how members of Congress grandstand before the television cameras at congressional hearings.

“When they went into an open hearing, and the little red light went on atop a television camera, it had the effect of a full moon on a werewolf,” he said.