David Koch: Maybe I'm Not So Bad
Billionaire gives rare interview at cancer center opening
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2011 8:20 AM CST
Julia and David Koch attend 'An Evening of Readings' annual gala hosted by Literacy Partners at New York State Theater Lincoln Center on May 12, 2008 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) Rather than evilly plotting the takeover of the world, David Koch was busy opening a cancer center yesterday that he gave $100 million to build. It's a cause dearer to his heart than Wisconsin or the Tea Party, the cancer survivor tells the New York Times in a rare interview. Highlights:

  • On the Scott Walker prank call heard 'round the world: “It’s a case of identity theft,” Koch says. “I didn’t even know his name before this brouhaha erupted.”
  • On the fallout: “I was thinking to myself, ‘My God, if I called up a senator or a congressman to discuss something with them, and they heard ‘David Koch is on the line,’ they’d immediately say, ‘That’s that fraud again—tell him to get lost!’ ”

  • On his public image: “I read stuff about me and I say, ‘God, I’m a terrible guy.' And then I come here and everybody treats me like I’m a wonderful fellow, and I say, ‘Well, maybe I’m not so bad after all.’ ”
  • On government cutbacks on health spending: The NIH and National Cancer Institute "are facing serious cutbacks due to the massive deficits the federal government is incurring. If the cutbacks happen, it will significantly diminish the level of research that can be carried on at the Koch Institute." Koch encouraged his audience to pick up the slack.
  • On his plans for the 2012 election: Undecided, but, "Our main interest is not participating in campaigns. Our main interest is in policy—in particular, seeing the federal government spending reduced so that our country does not go bankrupt."