NEW YORK -- On a wall of David Kochs office at 667 Madison Avenue hangs a photo he likes to show people, a framed image of him at the White House.
In the photo, Kochs tall frame towers over Barbara and George H.W. Bush.
Shes staring at him in bewilderment. President Bush looks bemused.
I got to the front of the line, Koch says. And I said, Mr. President, you may remember that I ran against you for vice president of the United States.
Look at their shocked looks, Koch says.
He relishes this: A Koch brother, at the White House, kidding around.
But now, no one thinks the Koch brothers kid around.
Since 1980, when Koch appeared as the vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian ticket, David Koch and his brother Charles have made enemies and redefined American politics.
Since January, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly defined the Koch Brothers with dark names: Oil barons. Oligarchs. Kochtopus. Un-American.
Most of the portrayals, by the way, are just the Koch brothers, thats the entirety of it, David has said. As though you are some sort of two-headed thing.
Overlooked, David Koch says, is how hes given more than $1.2 billion to charity. That number dwarfs his political spending, he says