[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/22/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="Obama is beginning his search for a running mate."] (CNN) - Barack Obama is quietly beginning his search for a running mate.
A veteran Democratic activist in Washington confirms to CNN's John King that former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson has accepted Obama's request for him to begin a screening/selection process for the No. 2 spot.
The news was first reported by the Associated Press.
Johnson performed the same role in 2004 and 1984 for then-Democratic presidential nominees John Kerry and Walter Mondale.
The activist, a party operative who has been involved in democratic presidential campaigns and conventions dating back more than 20 years, said it was his information that the process was "at a very early point but that within the campaign itself they have been informally thinking about it for awhile."
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton declined to comment on the report.