The Note: Of Clintons and Clintonistas

Which of these items should surprise us:

- The fact that Vice-president-elect Joe Biden is still a member of the United States Senate? (Albeit one with no intentions of actually casting another vote.)

- The fact that Sen. Ted Stevens is still a member of the Republican caucus? (Albeit one with very few votes left to cast.)

- The fact that Sen. Joe Lieberman is still a member of the Democratic caucus? (Just with one fewer subcommittee chairmanship that no one knew he had.)

- The fact that it there might be more old Clinton hands in the incoming Obama administration that there would have been if Hillary Clinton had won?

- The fact that conventional wisdom on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at State has shifted from why-would-he-want-her to why-would-she-want-it? (Is this all part of a power-play dance?)

- The fact that President-elect Barack Obama hasn't had complete, leak-proof control of any of his major appointments so far in the transition process? (All this before he names a single member of his Cabinet . . . )

Forgiveness is in the air on the Hill, and maybe in Chicago, too.

Add Eric Holder, Obama's choice for attorney general, to two running lists: worst-kept appointment secrets, and former top Clinton administration officials filling out the Obama team.

If Holder gets the nod, this means we know there will be at least one (if not a dozen) confirmation fights that reopen the old battles of the Clinton years.

This while Sen. Clinton plays out her internal fight over whether she wants to be Secretary of State. (Sorry, did someone mention drama?)

"While Mr. Obama has yet to name any of his cabinet secretaries, his early choices for White House staff positions and the names currently at the top of the list for staff and cabinet jobs suggest that his administration could be heavily stocked with Democrats who served under Mr. Clinton," The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau and John M. Broder report.

This storyline, again: "President-elect Barack Obama repeatedly is turning to the Clinton administration for his Cabinet and staff, the latest example coming yesterday when Eric Holder emerged as the leading candidate for attorney general," Bloomberg's James Rowley and Julianna Goldman write. "To be sure, some of the problems that beset the Clinton administration could follow as well."

Obama "wants the best people for the job, and he's willing to overcome that chatter if he determines that anyone he appoints is the best person for the job, even if they did serve in the Clinton administration," ABC's George Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday.

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff broke the Holder news: "Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal 'vetting' review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted, the source said. The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments."

What does it mean for an offer to have been made, but for it not to be finalized?

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