Clinton wrong choice for Democrats, Palms Garden resident says

PALM GARDENS -- A 40 mph freezing wind can't cool off Daniel Wiedoff as he's discussing Sen. Hillary Clinton and the upcoming presidential caucuses.

As the 33-year-old former Marine strings Christmas lights in the front yard of his home, his disdain for Clinton boils over.

"My wife is right," he says, nearly yelling as the wind flying off the nearby mountains howls. "Any self-respecting woman would have kicked her man to the curb after what he did with other women. She's using her husband to be president."

For the past four years, Wiedoff steered his Ford Ranger an hour and a half up U.S. Highway 95 from his home to a job in Las Vegas as a garbage truck driver.

With rising gasoline costs, the commute has cost him about $500 a month.

As snowflakes start to fall, the well-muscled 6-footer pulls on his ski cap tightly and shows off the free weights in his backyard that he pumps regularly.

He never saw combat, and he is disgusted that many of his fellow Marines must do so for what he sees as "no apparent reason."

"Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11," he says. "Our men are dying for nothing. And Clinton voted for it."

The war is Wiedoff's major issue as he measures presidential candidates.

Rising energy costs had been a major consideration, but he recently got a transfer from Las Vegas to Laughlin, where his wife works at a casino.

With his job now a 20-mile drive from home, he expects to save considerable money on gasoline.

Wiedoff finds himself attracted to Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Rep. Ron Paul, who were both against the war from the outset.

"He makes people feel good," Wiedoff says of Obama. "He's positive about change for the country."

He would like to caucus for Obama but says he has to work weekends to make ends meet.

Wiedoff, who is white, says he judges a man by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin.

But he finds it hard to believe that Democrats are seriously considering nominating a white woman for president over a black man.

"The president has been a manly position for all these years," Wiedoff says.

"I can't think of anything more degrading for an African-American man than to lose out to a white woman. We should definitely give an African-American man a chance before a woman. With a woman in charge, you'd never know what she was going to do."