Both John McCain and to some extent Barack Obama are now turning to the next stage in the evolution of the 2008 Presidential horse race – the selection of a running mate.

There is only a little noise from Obama on the subject, because he hasn’t quite sealed the deal yet for the Dem nomination, but apparently he’s already thinking ahead, according to a unnamed source.

Democratic officials said Thursday the party’s likely nominee has asked former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to begin vetting potential vice presidential picks. Johnson did the same job for Democratic nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Walter Mondale in 1984.

So this guy helped pick Geraldine Ferraro and John Edwards? Yikes.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, John McCain has his chef’s hat and “kiss the cook” apron on this weekend as he hosts three potential running mates at a BBQ this weekend in Arizona. Governors Charlie Crist and Bobby Jindal, along with former McCain rival Mitt Romney are all showing up to the McCain compound with chips and salsa and visions of Air Force Two dancing in their heads.

The three amigos each bring something to the table as a potential number two with McCain. Crist brings Florida, a critical battleground state, Jindal brings youth, something that will be an issue for the “old as dirt” McCain, and Romney brings fund raising and economic experience, another shallow spot for Johnny Mac.

Stay tuned for the PD’s VP PR*, coming soon to a post near you!

*For those slow on the uptake, that’s the PoliticalDerby’s Vice President Power Rankings.