RFK Jr. Apologizes to Family Over Kennedy PAC’s Super Bowl Ad

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized Sunday night after a well-funded super PAC supporting his independent presidential campaign aired an ad during the Super Bowl that closely resembled a spot supporting John F. Kennedy, his uncle, during his candidacy for the Whites in 1960. House.

The ad, which the super PAC co-founder said cost $7 million, featured the same cheerful jingle and cartoons interspersed with candid photographs of the candidate, in which the young Mr. Kennedy's face was superimposed.

Some members of Mr. Kennedy's family, many of whom denounced him for his promotion of unsubstantiated theories about vaccines and other topics, quickly criticized him over the ad.

Bobby Shriver, nephew of John F. Kennedy, said the: “My cousin’s Super Bowl commercial used our uncle’s faces – and my mother’s. She would be appalled by his deadly views on health care. Respect for science, vaccines and health care equity was in his DNA. His brother Mark Shriver wrote that he agreed.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. himself, who invoked his famous political family and legacy throughout his candidacy, quickly responded.

“I am truly sorry if the Super Bowl commercial caused any member of my family pain,” he said. wrote on X Sunday evening. “The ad was created and distributed by the American Values ​​Super PAC without any involvement or endorsement from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”

Separately, the Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit Friday accusing it and the super PAC of illegal coordination.

Mr. Kennedy is running for president as an independent, after leaving the Democratic Party in October, arguing that the Democratic primary system was rigged against him. His candidacy has worried many Democrats who fear that Mr. Kennedy — an environmental lawyer who became a prominent purveyor of conspiracy theories — could siphon votes from President Biden.

The super PAC has heightened suspicions about Mr. Kennedy's support base. A substantial portion of the PAC's funding, about $15 million, came from Timothy Mellon, a Republican who also gave $10 million to a super PAC supporting former President Donald J. Trump.

“It's fitting that the first national ad promoting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s candidacy was purchased and financed by Donald Trump's largest donor this cycle,” said Alex Floyd, a National Committee spokesperson. Democrat. “RFK Jr. is nothing more than a Trojan horse in this race.”

Super Bowl commercials are often steeped in nostalgia. Sunday night's ads featured vintage images of Volkswagens, a “Scrubs” reunion and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Boston.

But Kennedy's ad — which took about 36 hours to produce, according to super PAC co-founder Tony Lyons — struck a different note. While John F. Kennedy ran in 1960 as a 43-year-old Democrat, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is 70 and running as an independent – ​​a self-proclaimed spoiler. (Despite Mr. Kennedy's age, advertising still portrays him as young and athletic, including a photo of him on skis.)

Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly faced backlash from his family for his views.

In July, the former president's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, released a video calling Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign “embarrassing,” saying he was “trading on Camelot, celebrity conspiracy theories and conflicts for personal gain and glory.”

The Super Bowl ad received a mixed reception on the social media platform X. Ben Shapiro, a right-wing writer, called it “politically astute and shocking.”

Robert Shrum, a longtime Democratic political consultant who worked with former Senator Edward M. Kennedy, wrote: “This RFK Jr. Super Bowl ad is a complete plagiarism of the 1960 JFK ad. What a fraud – and to quote Lloyd Bentsen with a slight amendment: 'Bobby, you're not John Kennedy.' Instead, you are a Trump ally.”

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