By day, Rep. Steve Israel is a New York lawmaker, but by night, he is the brains behind the Democratic Party's operation to win more congressional seats, and in between, he's writing a book on his iPhone making fun of it all. Washington Bureau Michael Scotto followed him around for the day and filed the following report.
It's about 1:30 p.m., and after returning from a luncheon speaking engagement, Rep. Steve Israel realizes he never actually ate lunch.
"Why have a salad when you can have a tasty doughnut?" he said.
The Queens and Long Island congressman is always on the go, walking to meetings with constituents or to strategy sessions with political aides. In addition to being a lawmaker, Israel runs the Democratic Party's uphill efforts to regain control of the House.
On any given day, Israel jumps into the passenger seat of a waiting car that takes him just a few blocks from his Capitol Hill office to the headquarters of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Inside the war room, he spends two hours a day talking with candidates and top strategists. When he's not there, he's attached to his cellphone, typing or talking away.
This year, New York is seen as a major battleground, with eight competitive districts. Israel said he's turning to Governor Andrew Cuomo for help.
"There was a meeting just this week between the DCCC staff and the governor's campaign staff on having a coordinated campaign," Israel said.
He's also tapping Mayor Bill de Blasio and, maybe, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
"We have had several conversations, and she would be just be a wonderful, wonderful asset to our efforts, particularly as it pertains to scrutinizing a Republican congress that has refused to pass an immigration bill," Israel said.
Even as he runs around the country, Israel said his mind is on his district. He's there every weekend, and his D.C. office is a monument to its residents, particularly some of the authors. It makes sense. Israel is one himself. He has a novel coming out early next year, a parody of the federal government's spying programs.
"I wrote my book, this novel, on this," he said, pointing to his iPhone.
It's not a surprise, given that he is never in one place.