2016 Presidential Short-Listers Try Out at 2012 Convention

Barack Obama has officially been his party's presidential nominee for less than 24 hours, but already political prognosticators are looking past the president for clues about who will take his place on the Democratic ticket in 2016.

While one of the top contenders for that spot, Hillary Clinton, was 10,000 miles away on secretary of state duties, a host of other prospects were taking the stage in a tryout of sorts before the delegates, donors and grassroots supporters watching the Democratic National Convention.

ABC caught up with a few of those 2016 presidential prospects to find out just how high their political aspirations were.

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

Who he is: Patrick is serving his second term as Massachusetts governor after previously working in the Clinton administration.

Why he's on the list: Patrick has ramped up his national profile of late, making the rounds on Sunday political talk shows, campaigning across the country for President Obama and scoring a prime speaking spot at the Democratic Convention right before keynote speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Will he or won't he: Patrick dismissed rumors of a 2016 presidential bid as "just chatter" in an interview with ABC's John Karl Wednesday.

"I'm going to finish my term [as governor] in 2014. I'm going to return to the private sector where I've spent … most of my career," Patrick said. "If there is a time sometime later to come back and serve in public life, I hope I'm able to do that. Just not going to be in 2016."

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Who he is: Hickenlooper has a master's degree in geology, started a business brewing beer and is now serving his first term as Colorado governor.

Why he's on the 2016 list: Hickenlooper is a political outsider, having never run for public office before winning his 2003 mayoral race in Denver. He has a high approval rating in Colorado and a background as a small businessman.

Will he or won't he: When asked about his presidential prospects on the ABC/Yahoo live show at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, Hinkenlooper said he didn't even think his name was on the short list.

"Most of those lists for 2016 don't include my name," the Colorado governor said.

Hickenlooper said he can't be an effective governor while also ramping up a national campaign, starting a Super PAC to raise money and making appearances in early primary and caucus states.

"I don't think you can do both. You're not going to see me in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina," he said. "I love being governor. I love going all over Colorado."

VIDEO: Kamala Harris says she doesn't think about pundits' desire for her to run for president.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris

Who she is: Harris is the first woman, the first black person and the first South Asian to serve as attorney general in California.

Why she's on the 2016 list: Harris won national notoriety for driving a hard bargain with big banks to win more settlement money for Californians who were illegally foreclosed on. She broke racial and ethnic barriers to become attorney general, and some have even referred to her as the "female Barack Obama."

Will she or won't she: Harris left the door open, however slightly, to her name being on the presidential ticket in 2016.

"I am completely focused on what's right in front of me, for a number of reasons," Harris told ABC's Amy Walter and Rick Klein Wednesday. "One, I think life is too short. You have to really enjoy what you're doing today."

"I'm also a little superstitious," she continued. "You know, you concentrate on that thing out there, and then you're going to trip over the thing in front of you."

So will she be making the rounds in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire this time next year? "Who knows," she said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Who he is: Cuomo was elected to his first term as New York governor in 2010. He was the state's attorney general for one term and served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton.

Why he's on the 2016 list: Cuomo has one of the highest approval ratings of any governor in the country, with 73 percent of New Yorkers saying they hold a favorable view of him in a July poll from Quinnipiac University. Only 16 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Cuomo.

Will he or won't he: Judging by his rousing speech on Thursday, Cuomo may have his sights on a house a little whiter than the New York governor's mansion. But judging by his speech location – off the beaten path of the Democratic Convention at the New York delegation breakfast – the speculation surrounding his possible 2016 run may not gain any teeth.

While Cuomo did not address his future prospects at the breakfast, he said in April that the rumors of his possible candidacy were "fascinating" and "flattering."

"I've seen this movie before," Cuomo said, according to New York magazine. "I know how it turns out. It's fascinating."

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