Whether it was Mia Love's representing an unprecedented political dream, Michelle Obama's captivating the crowd with intimate accounts of the President, or Bill Clinton's sparkling nomination, this year's Republican and Democratic National Conventions provided Americans with a fundamental portrayal of the nation's current political landscape.
Politicians gathered with celebrities and other influential figures to support--and in some cases, bash--presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
Behind-the-scenes photos demonstrated the important role that family plays in the Obama household, as Malia and Sasha cozied up to their father on a White House couch to watch their mother take center stage for her speech in Charlotte, NC.
Down in Tampa, Mitt Romney encouraged Americans to forego patience, "turn the page," and expect more immediate change from their commander-in-chief.
And then there was Clint Eastwood, a surprise guest at the Republican National Convention who spoke politics with an empty chair.
San Antonio mayor Julian Castro made history at the DNC as the first ever Latino invited to deliver the keynote speech. Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas made her country proud once again by leading the convention attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Scandal" actress and political activist Kerry Washington proved her support of President Obama by delivering a speech that touched on volunteering, voting and women's rights.
On Thursday, the president capped off the DNC with a nomination acceptance speech that highlighted a decided shift in tone for the forthcoming election.
"We don't think government can solve all our problems," he said. "But we don't think that government is the source of all our problems."
Throughout his remarks, Obama also acknowledged everyday Americans who have inspired him, job availability for veterans, the DREAM act, and the accomplishments achieved throughout this four terms.
"If you turn away now -- if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn't possible -- well, change will not happen," said Obama. "If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves."
"Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen," he said. "Only you have the power to move us forward."
We've rounded up these convention highlights that speak to the future political climate of the upcoming election, as well as the ever-changing face of American politics.
Mia Love Shares Her American Dream
Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mia Love addressed attendees at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 28. If she beats the popular Democratic incumbent in the race for the congressional seat in Utah's 4th district, Love will become the first Black female sent to Congress by the GOP. <br> "President Obama's version of America is a divided one -- pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/mia-love-gop-speech_n_1836299.html" target="_hplink">said Love in her speech</a>. "His policies have failed! We are not better off than we were 4 years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker, or campaign ad can change that."
Artur Davis Makes A Case For Romney
Former Representative Artur Davis addressed delegates at the RNC on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Once an early supporter of Obama, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-artur-davis-obama-romney-20120828,0,7025125.story" target="_hplink">Davis shook up the political world when he switched from the Democratic to the Republican party earlier this year</a>. "The Democrats' ads convince me that Gov. Romney can't sing, but his record convinces me he knows how to lead, and I think you know which skill we need more," he said in his remarks.
Mitt Romney Says No More Patience
On Aug. 30, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gave his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. <br> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/mitt-romney-speech-text_n_1826619.html" target="_hplink">In his remarks, Romney slammed Obama for the current state of the economy, the stagnate job market, his health care reform policy, and his focus on environmental issues</a>. He also made an indirect jab at Obama's support of gay marriage. <br> "This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us it was someone else's fault," said Romney. "This president can tell us that the next four years he'll get it right." "But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office," he continued. "America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith. But today, the time has come to turn the page."
Clint Eastwood's Peculiar Chair Convo
Props, movie quotations, and rambling conversation were all elements of the popular speech delivered by veteran actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention. During his remarks, Eastwood spoke to an empty chair beside the podium, which he claimed represented President Obama.
FLOTUS Stuns in Tracy Reese
First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage to deliver her speech in a Tracy Reese-designed, hot pink silk jaquard dress with a dusty blue trim at the hem. <br> "The whole design team was all huddled around the monitors here in the office trying to see the speech livestreamed," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/tracy-reese-michelle-obama-dress_n_1859332.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular" target="_hplink">Reese told The Huffington Post</a>. <br> "First of all, the speech was so wonderful! She spoke so eloquently. The importance of her wearing our dress for that moment increased exponentially because what she said was so moving," Reese said.
President Barack Obama and his daughters Malia (left) and Sasha cozied up together on a couch in the White House to watch first lady Michelle Obama deliver her speech on television. <br> "I'm going to try to not let them see their daddy cry because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty," Obama said at rally earlier Tuesday in Norfolk, Va.
FLOTUS' Speech Brings Down The House
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/michelle-obama-dnc-speech_n_1856347.html?utm_hp_ref=black-voices&ir=Black Voices#slide=1472154" target="_hplink">First lady Michelle Obama delivered a rousing speech on Tuesday, September 4</a>, that painted a motivational picture of her husband's work ethic and his commitment to uplifting the middle class. <br> "That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, pouring over the letters people have sent him," she said. "I see the concern in his eyes ... and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me,`You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle. It's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do.""
Obama Places Family Before Politics
School comes first in President Barack Obama's book. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/michelle-obama-entertainment-tonight-barack-obama-late-democratic-national-convention_n_1854732.html" target="_hplink">First lady Michelle Obama revealed to Entertainment Tonight that the commander-in-chief would be making a delayed arrival to the Democratic Convention</a> because their daughter Malia would begin school that Tuesday, Sept. 4. <br> "We have always structured our lives where our kids come first and their involvement in politics is at their own discretion," she told ET. "And trust me, there hasn't been a time when they've said, 'I think I want to watch you do a rally rather than go to this sleepover,' it's never happened -- surprisingly so. But they're always welcome and they do enjoy the campaign trail, but the older they get the more full lives they have. <br> You know, they're on sports teams, they've got friends, they've got activities ...They're living normal teenage lives and that's exactly how Barack and I would want it."
Gabby Leads The Pledge Of Allegiance At The DNC
With her trademark smile and youthful charm, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas lead Convention attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Julian Castro Makes History
The 37-year-old San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julian Castro made convention history on Tuesday, Sept. 4, when he became the first Latino ever to deliver the keynote address at the DNC. <br> "My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people's houses so she could afford to rent her own," said Castro. "But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone."
Cory Booker Gets the Crowd Going
When Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ, spoke to DNC delegates on Tuesday, his speech was met with roaring applause. Amidst cheers of "USA!" and "Cory!" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/cory-booker-speech_n_1852213.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012" target="_hplink">the mayor focused on advocating Obama's stance towards taxes and linking that duty to the American dream, which amped the crowd even more</a>. "It is our fundamental national aspiration that no matter how you choose to pray or whom you choose to love...that if you are a citizen of the United States of America...that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills," Booker said.
Deval Patrick Slams His Predecessor
In his pro-Obama speech, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick focused mainly on the political history of Romney, Patrick's predecessor, rather than his business acumen. "Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he's fixed. I can tell you that Massachusetts was not one of them," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/deval-patrick-speech_n_1852775.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular" target="_hplink">Patrick said</a>. "He's a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was a lot more interested in having the job than doing the job." He also ticked off the number of accomplishments the President had achieved while in office. "With a record and a vision like that, I will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office -- and neither should you" he said.
Kamala Harris Brings Up Touchy Issue
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris addressed a controversial issue in her speech on Wednesday, Sept. 5. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/kamala-harris-speech_n_1859739.html?utm_hp_ref=politics" target="_hplink">Harris referred to the $25 billion settlement that the Obama administration, Harris, and 48 other state attorney had won from the nation's largest banks</a>, after discovering fraudulent foreclosure process. Despite the large settlement, many homeowner advocates say that little has changed. "President Obama will fight for working families," said Harris. "He will fight to level the economic playing field and fight to give every American the same fair shot my family had."
Bill Clinton Nominates Barack Obama
Former President Bill Clinton had both pundits and the general public buzzing about his passionate, pragmatic speech in support of President Obama's second nomination, delivered on Wednesday, Sept. 5. <br> "I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside.... I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party," Clinton told viewers on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Bill's Got Barack's Back
Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama embraced in a bear hug, after Clinton announced the official nomination of Obama for a second term as president. <br> "Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/bill-clinton-speech-text-_n_1850531.html" target="_hplink">said Clinton</a>. "[...] When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody's right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day."
Kerry Washington Brings Star Power
A well known political activist and advocate of President Obama, "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington gave a passionate speech on the final day of the Democratic National Convention. <br> "I'm here not just as an actress but as a woman, an African-American, a granddaughter of Ellis Island immigrants, a person who could not have afforded college without the help of student loans and as one of millions of volunteers working to re-elect President Obama!" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/kerry-washington-dnc-speech_n_1862985.html" target="_hplink">said Washington</a>.
Joe Biden Goes Off-Script But Electrifies
Known for his fiery remarks and middle man rhetoric, Vice President Joe Biden had three words for the DNC audience: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/joe-biden-speech-_n_1849175.html" target="_hplink">"Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama."</a> Biden testified for Obama's presidency, asserting that the commander-in-chief has what it takes to make the hard decisions. "This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and steel in his spine," Biden said, receiving a standing ovation. "And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the grit and determination of American workers, and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces we can now proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months: Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive."
Obama Moves From Hope to Hopeful
President Obama's much anticipated nomination acceptance speech touched on patience, team work, and the spirit of a determined America. Obama gained momentum as he admitted last term's imperfections and referred to the mindset necessary to effectively implement change in the next four years. <br> "I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention," Obama said. "The times have changed -- and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president. <br> "America," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/barack-obama-speech_n_1849068.html" target="_hplink">Obama said toward the end of his speech</a>, "I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder -- but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer -- but we travel it together. We don't turn back."
A First Family Affair
After Barack Obama delivered his nomination acceptance speech, daughters Malia, 14, Sasha, 11, and First Lady Michelle Obama joined him on stage to greet the applauding audience as a family.