This past week, the Democratic National Convention closed up shop with yet another riveting speech from President Barack Obama. The election season is now in the home stretch with both candidates officially nominated and each nominee spewing out promises. Everything is in place for quite an interesting finish in November. However, something else can be derived from the conventions beside who was nominated for the 2012 presidential race. Who was in attendance and who was missing can be very telling, especially when looking forward to the potential 2016 candidates. For the Democrats, Martin O'Malley, the Maryland governor, and Mark Warner, the Virginia senator, both made numerous press appearances. And Joe Biden made the most of his primetime speech just before President Obama's with a fiery performance.

On the Republican side, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey lived up to his growing reputation for being honest with a fierce and refreshingly blunt speech. Marco Rubio from Florida and Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan also took advantage of the national stage and delivered speeches with the country watching.

However, there was one Democratic mainstay who was clearly missing from the Democratic Convention, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made a captivating and well-received speech-while Hillary watched on a TV screen in Timor-Leste during a visit with the Prime Minister. Future candidates often use the conventions to springboard themselves onto the national stage. President Obama is a prime example with his speech at the 2004 convention. Obviously, as Secretary of State and as the former first lady, Clinton does not need any branding to her name; she is well known.

However, the questions can still be asked: What was Hillary doing in Timor-Leste now of all times? The duties of Secretary of State are clearly demanding, however, one would think Clinton would have fit the convention into her schedule. Is it plausible to deduce that Hillary Clinton is putting her presidential run on the back burner? Is her ever-long dream to run this country from the Oval Office over? Based on her absence from this year's convention, the answer is at the very least, maybe.

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On the Republican side two major players were virtually absent from the convention, former President George W. Bush and Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts. Bush's absence was clearly deliberate-as it is easy to infer that no one from the Republican Party wants Romney to be even remotely associated with him. The Republicans have taken numerous steps to put the fault of the current economic woes squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration, even though it is clear the Bush administration has contributed a major amount of the fault. Bush simply adds nothing positive to the Romney campaign and therefore is clearly not involved. However, it was still a shock to see how minimal Bush's role truly was in the convention-a testament to his popularity.
Scott Brown, the junior senator from Massachusetts, was also featured in a very limited role at the Republican National Convention ,with just one brief appearance. Then again, the reason behind his absence was quite different than Bush, as he is entrenched in an election of his own. Brown is running for Senate in the clear blue state of Massachusetts.

He is desperately trying to appeal to the liberal population. One of Romney's main goals throughout the Republican National Convention was to solidify the conservative base of the Republican Party. Brown on the other hand is trying to remove himself from that very conservative base. Playing a major role in the convention would have severely hindered Brown's own agenda.

However, how effective was his minimal convention role in appealing to the liberal Massachusetts population? And more importantly, does it hurt his future success as a politician?

Brown has been an up-and-coming member of the Republican Party virtually since his first Senate election. His path seemed to mimic that of Mitt Romney himself, leading up to a potential presidential bid in 2016. By not participating, Brown may have severely hurt his chances for a future presidential nomination.

This year's political conventions were full of invigorating speeches. Those who spoke took advantage of the opportunity and used the convention to take their place in the national political conversation. Both parties may be looking ahead to 2016 after these conventions with both Hillary Clinton and Scott Brown potentially being left behind.