RETAIL POLITICS is the new phrase for a practice as old as politics itself. It is campaigning at street level. Corner-shop campaigning, where hands can be shaken and eyeballs eyed. The opposite would be wholesale politics, if such a phrase existed, which it doesn't, yet. If it did, it would be airport hangar campaigning and downtown rallies. Hillary isn't retailing quite yet. Last week, she was meeting mostly with small groups stocked with people hand-picked by party organisers. But she is almost there and that is causing a stir, because of who she is.

Who is the retail king in America? (Who also happens to be the wholesale king.) Wal-Mart is the wrong answer. Bill Clinton, of course.