Interview gives a rare look at conservative mastermind David Koch

New York Times' conversation lends new insight into the controversial, arch-conservative billionaire

By Peter Finocchiaro
Published March 5, 2011 7:38PM (EST)

Interviews with the mysterious industrialist David Koch are few and far between, which is why The New York Times' conversation with the businessman is so fascinating. At MIT's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the billionaire sat down with Times reporter Michael Cooper to touch on a number of subjects, including political contributions, Wisconsin and his status as conservative arch-villain in progressive circles. Here are some of the best bits:

Koch on political contributions :

Our main interest is not participating in campaigns, the presidential campaign or the Congressional or senatorial campaigns in 2012. Our main interest is in policy -- in particular, seeing the federal government spending reduced, hopefully in a sustained way, so that our country does not go bankrupt.

Koch on Wisconsin:

[I don't know the specifics of what's happening in Wisconsin,] but I can say in general that I believe, as a businessman, I think that state budgets, municipal budgets and the federal budget should be balanced.

Koch on the Walker prank call:

It’s a case of identity theft... I didn’t even know [Walker's] name before this brouhaha erupted.

Koch on his notoriety:

I read stuff about me and I say, "God, I’m a terrible guy." And then I come here [to the opening ceremony for his cancer center] and everybody treats me like I'm a wonderful fellow, and I say, "Well, maybe I'm not so bad after all."

Read the entire New York Times story here

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