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November 1998
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Minor Candidate Zanna Feitler Leaves a Major Mark at Debate

By Fritz Wenzel and Mark Zaborney Blade Staff Writers October 23, 1998

She was almost excluded from the Ohio gubernatorial debate, but in the end, she grabbed the spotlight.

"She zinged us," said front-runner Bob Taft, a Republican, of Natural Law Party candidate Zanna Feitler. "In many ways, she stole the show."
Democrat Lee Fisher had a similar assessment. "I think she did a wonderful job."

Ms. Feitler, 47, is a little-known teacher of transcendental meditation. She said before the debate, which was televised statewide, that she has practiced levitation of her own body for "more than 20 years," softly preached a mantra of cooperation and lulled her opponents into a sense of false security before knocking them out in her final statement.

Throughout the debate, she peppered her responses with bits of her philosophy about the harmony of nature and the need for man to observe the laws of nature to live happy lives. She supports using transcendental meditation as the primary means of rehabilitating the state's prisoners.

Adhering to her principle of nonconfrontation, she refused to call her responses to the statements of other candidates "rebuttals," instead calling them "comments."

She began her closing remarks in a conciliatory way, asking Mr. Taft that "if by some miracle I got elected, would you work with me?"

Mr. Taft responded: "I sure will," as applause rippled.

She turned the other direction and said: "Lee Fisher. You have a brilliant mind. You have a compassionate heart. If by some fluke the voters chose me, would you work with me?"

"I'd be honored, absolutely," Mr. Fisher said.

She then turned to the other minor party candidate, John Mitchel of the Reform Party.

"Mitch, you've been so generous during this campaign. You've shared information, we've supported each other, and you have many good ideas. If I'm elected, would you support me?"

"Yes I would," Mr. Mitchel answered, laying the foundation for the zinger.

Turning to the packed crowd at the Driscoll Center for Continuing Education at the University of Toledo, she said: "So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. You can elect one fine gentleman, or you can elect me and you get all of the above."

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