We all knew the pick would pay big drama dividends, we just didn’t know it would start paying before she’s even been formally named. Christmas does indeed come early this year.

Doesn’t sound like the sources here are part of The One’s inner circle, but let’s not spoil the unwrapping of our first present with details.

[A] little after lunch on Wednesday two Obama aides went to a local coffee shop to talk. Both were veterans of the campaign, hailed as the best organised and most disciplined in US history, which has made their boss the first black president.

Both had come to believe, in the crucible of the campaign, that Mr Obama’s judgment was superior to their own. But when they met on Wednesday they agreed on one thing: “He’s making a mistake.” As one of the participants told a friend later that night: “She’ll do a good job but she’ll do it for herself, not for Barack. I can’t bear the drama again.”…

The Obama aides who went for coffee on Wednesday discussed how the initial tentative talks between Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were leaked by the Clinton camp, then how every twist and turn of the financial vetting found its way into the media.

Those in Mrs Clinton’s camp who wanted her to take the job wanted the financial issue off the table believing Mr Obama would find any excuse not to give her the job.

“They can’t help themselves,” the Obama aide told his friend, a fellow Democrat strategist. “Every event is a potential ladder up or a bullet to be dodged. They’re positioning and spinning all the time. They lost. Now we seem to be handing them the farm.”

They’re also under the impression that she’ll be a terrible manager at State. Why? Just because of the endless infighting among her campaign staff that she did little to stop, and the fact that she’s still in debt six months after the primaries ended, and er, her minor strategic error in not preparing a ground game to defeat Obama in the caucus states in case she failed to put him away on Super Tuesday? Oh, and her inexplicable loyalty to tools like Mark Penn and Patti Solis Doyle, who used to spend afternoons watching soap operas instead of managing the campaign? No worries on that last point, if so: She’s already been given the Team Barry seal of approval.

I’m going to stop there before I talk myself out of supporting the pick. Exit question: How seriously should we take the sources’ lament about the Clintons leaking given that they themselves are leaking like a sieve to the Telegraph here?

Update: What Hillary wants, Hillary gets. Except for the presidency, I guess.

Before Hillary Clinton has been formally offered the job as Secretary of State, a purge of Barack Obama’s top foreign policy team has begun.

The advisers who helped trash the former First Lady’s foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail are being brutally shunted aside, as the price of her accepting the job of being the public face of America to the world…

Its turns out that Mrs Clinton’s delay in accepting the president elect’s offer to be his top foreign policy adviser had much to do with her negotiating the terms of the job and insisting on the right to choose her own state department staff and possibly even some of the plumb Ambassador postings. She wanted guarantees of direct access to the president – without having to go through his national security adviser. Above all she did not want to end up like Colin Powell who was completely out-manoeuvred by the hawkish Vice President Dick Cheney who imposed neo-conservative friends like John Bolton on the State Department and steered the US towards a policy of using torture to achieve its aims.

Out: Greg Craig, who savaged Her Majesty in a public memo earlier this year and now lands as White House counsel instead of at State, and possibly Susan Rice, who’s likely to end up in some sort of NSA capacity. Why on earth is Obama so eager to have Hillary in the cabinet that he’s not only willing to risk leaks, backbiting, and drama, but willing to torpedo the ambitions of his closest aides in the process?