WASHINGTON — President Obama's nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency is highly likely to stall in the Senate, but that may not matter to the White House.

Analysts saw the announcement as an attempt by the White House — even if Watt's nomination fails — to sidestep criticism about its lack of progress on a reform plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and instead cast Senate Republicans as obstructing a way forward from the mortgage giants' conservatorship by blocking the nominee.

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