FORTUNE — Tim Cook is coming to Washington next week, summoned by the same Senate subcommittee that blasted Microsoft (MSFT) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ) last fall for funneling U.S. profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes on them.
But Apple’s (AAPL) CEO — whose company famously keeps $102 billion in profits in overseas accounts — is ready for battle, and he softened the ground Thursday with a pair strategically targeted interviews.
He told Politico — the most-read blog inside the Beltway — that he’s not going to let the subcommittee blacken Apple’s image with the same brush it tarred HP and Microsoft.
He told the
that Apple paid $6 billion in federal taxes last year and is on track to pay $7 billion this year.
And who hasn’t Cook talked to — at least not yet? The New York Times, the other Beltway must-read paper. The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for a controversial series last year that took what Cook clearly felt were unfair pot shots at Apple.
Speaking of unfair pot shots, I’m looking forward to Cook’s questioning by Tom Coburn, the junior senator from Oklahoma who told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe last year that the Times’ account of Apple’s tax strategies made him see red:
Yet when asked about a repatriation tax holiday — a one-time bring-your-cash-home-for-free card that even Cook feels would be unfairly generous to U.S. corporations — Coburn was all for it. It was priceless video, and we saved it. See Sen. Tom Coburn is ‘livid’ about Apple’s tax loopholes.