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Steve Israel: ‘We had a better time at the DMZ than we’re going to have tonight’

Steve Israel: ‘We had a better time at the DMZ than we’re going to have tonight’
© Greg Nash

Former New York Rep. Steve Israel (D) bounded through the doors of the Clinton election party at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York “sniffing victory,” he said.

But his mood quickly shifted when he bumped into a reporter. 

“Have you seen the results from Broward and Dade Counties?” the reporter asked him, referring to the key Democratic strongholds in South Florida. 

Israel, who had recently visited the counties, replied, “I haven’t seen them, but she was getting a good response when I was there.” 

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“Well, the response isn’t that great tonight,” the reporter replied. “I think you guys may lose.” 

Israel laughed it off and headed for a VIP room at the convention center where other members of Congress had gathered. 

“There was still this sense of ‘Well, it may be a longer night than we thought, but we’re gonna win,’ ” Israel said.

But as more results began to come in and the room filled with dread, Israel found himself standing with Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill calls on GOP opponent to appoint special prosecutor to look into undercover video Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit on pre-existing conditions Credit union group to spend .8 million for vulnerable Dem, GOP incumbents MORE (D-Mo.) 

Several weeks before the election, the two lawmakers had visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) alongside other colleagues on an official congressional trip. 

“We stared into North Korea and there were these menacing North Korean soldiers taking pictures of us,” he recalled. 

Remembering the moment, Israel turned to McCaskill: “We had a better time at the DMZ than we’re going to have tonight,” he said.