The president also said that Tom Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the telecommunications industry and investor in industry startups, to head the Federal Communications Commission. He named Mignon Clyburn as interim chief until Wheeler's nomination is confirmed by the Senate.
Watt is now in his 11th term in Congress. Obama said his long experience on the Committee on Financial Services has given him the insight he needs to head the federal housing agency.
"He knows what it's going to take to help responsible homeowners fully recover," Obama said. "And he's committed to helping folks just like his mom -- Americans who work really hard, play by the rules day in and day out to provide for their families."
Wheeler also has the expertise needed at the FCC, the president said.
"Now, if anybody is wondering about Tom's qualifications, Tom is the only member of both the cable television and the wireless industry hall of fame. So he's like the Jim Brown of telecom, or the Bo Jackson of telecom," Obama said.