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Garcia, Taddeo - but not Martinez - pick up endorsement

Democracy For America, a Vermont-based political organization founded by 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean, has endorsed Democrats Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo - but not Raul Martinez.

The group held a press conference outside an empty condo building near Little Havana that is facing foreclosure to highlight the economic slowdown.

"The solution to our housing crisis and our economic crisis requires that our culture of incumbency in Washington be changed by a culture of activism," said Jim Dean, Democracy For America's chairman and Howard Dean's brother.

Garcia and Taddeo are challenging Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, respectively.

Jim Dean said the group did not throw its support behind Martinez, who is running against Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, because it does not have enough resources to back all candidates and because most of Democracy for America's members are in Garcia's and Taddeo's districts.

Plus, Martinez is not a newcomer to running for office, he said.

"Culturally we tend to work with candidates that are running for the first time," Jim Dean said. "It's not for lack of love."

The Democratic candidates used the press conference to say Republicans have not helped homeowners enough and have focused on other issues instead.

"We bailed out Bear Stearns but we didn't bail out the regular working people," Taddeo said.

Quipped Garcia: "This isn't a problem in Havana, Cuba. But it is a problem here right now."