PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA ANNOUNCES HIS PLANS TO NOMINATE GEN. ERIC SHINESKI TO HEAD THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION TO NBC NEWS’ TOM BROKAW

In an exclusive interview to air Sunday on “Meet the Press,” President-Elect Barack Obama announces he plans to nominate Gen. Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Transcript is below and a clip is available on www.mtp.msnbc.com.

If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing Sunday, Dec. 7 on NBC News’ Meet the Press.”

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: Tomorrow, you had mentioned earlier, is when we commemorate Pearl Harbor, and so I’m going to be making announcement tomorrow about the head of our Veterans Administration, General Eric Shinseki, who was a commander and has fought in Vietnam, Bosnia, is somebody who has achieved the highest level of military service. He has agreed that he is willing to be part of this administration because both he and I share a reverence for those who serve. I grew up in Hawaii, as he did. My grandfather is in the Punch Bowl National Cemetery. When I reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and, I think about how so many veterans around the country are struggling even more than those who have not served — higher unemployment rates, higher homeless rates, higher substance abuse rates, medical care that is inadequate — it breaks my heart, and I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home.

BROKAW: He’s the man who lost his job in the Bush Administration because he said we will need more troops in Iraq than Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld thought we would need at that time.

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: He was right.

Tom Brokaw is the interim moderator of “Meet the Press.” Betsy Fischer is the executive producer. Michelle Jaconi and Rebecca Samuels are producers.

“Meet the Press,” the No. 1 Sunday morning public affairs program, is seen on the NBC Television Network from 9-10 a.m. ET in most markets. In Washington D.C. and New York City, the broadcast is seen from 10:30-11:30 a.m. ET. Please check local listings or the “Meet the Press” website (www.mtp.msnbc.com) for television and radio broadcast times in your area.

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