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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is apologizing to his family for a Super Bowl ad that recalls the 1960 presidential campaign of his uncle, former President John F. Kennedy.
“I am truly sorry if the Super Bowl commercial caused any member of my family pain,” Kennedy said in a statement. post on the website officially known as Twitter. “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.”
Kennedy had developed a controversial political reputation as a longtime leader of the anti-vaccine movement, promoting baseless conspiracy theories. He first announced his candidacy last spring, promising to challenge President Biden for the Democratic nomination, but ultimately turned to running as an independent.
The ad, which remains pinned to the top of Kennedy's X-page, uses his uncle's campaign song, “Kennedy for Me,” colorizing the original black-and-white video and adding images of the independent candidate.
The video, funded by Kennedy's PAC, American Values 2024, cost $7 million to air during the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
“RFK Jr offers us real change and freedom, confidence and hope,” Tony Lyons, co-founder of the super PAC, said in a statement to NPR. “Like his uncle and father, Kennedy is a corruption fighter, and it's no wonder the DNC is trying all the old tricks and inventing new ones to stop him. The public sees through all of this and doesn't will not tolerate it,” he said. added.
The release of the ad comes just days after the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing about Kennedy's super PAC. violated campaign finance laws.
Kennedy remains a long-shot candidate, although some political experts warn that a third-party candidate option could take votes away from potential Democratic and Republican nominees. During the last NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist PollKennedy draws more votes from Trump-aligned voters, which could benefit Biden.
The Kennedy family – which has long been associated with the Democratic Party – has largely speak out publicly against Kennedy and said they would support Biden.