Norway’s PM Works as Taxi Driver for Afternoon

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 11 2013 1:40 PM

Norway’s Prime Minister Spends Afternoon Working as Taxi Driver to Hear From Voters

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg pulled off a stunt recently that many of his fellow democratically elected leaders would likely be too scared to carry out: He tried to mingle with the people. In what he described as an effort to hear from real Norwegians, Stoltenberg dressed up as a taxi driver and spent an afternoon driving people around Oslo. He didn’t quite manage to remain incognito though. Pretty much all his passengers realized sooner or later who their driver was, despite the sunglasses and uniform. Still, from the short video posted online it seems like lively discussions did emerge, even if the passengers knew who they were talking to. One elderly woman says she’s lucky he was her driver because she "wanted to send a letter.”

The media stunt certainly makes the prime minister seem like friendly guy, with one woman even making fun of his driving. “Your driving isn’t exactly the best I’ve seen,” she said. Stoltenberg claims it was his first time driving in eight years. “So you agree with me on oil policy?” asks one young man. “No,” replied the prime minister, “the Socialist Party agrees with you on that.” Stoltenberg is popular, “but opinion polls suggest he is lagging behind the opposition ahead of the election,” notes the BBC.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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