RFK Jr. super PAC reboots vintage JFK ad for Super Bowl commercial

The ad sought to tie RFK Jr. to his storied family.

February 11, 2024, 11:57 PM

American Values 2024, the super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential bid, aired an ad during Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday night rebooting a commercial aired during the 1960 presidential campaign for the candidate’s uncle former President John F. Kennedy.

The ad substitutes photos of the younger Kennedy for photos of his uncle while keeping the same jingle.

The $7 million ad, which flooded television screens across America in the second quarter of the game, sought to tie Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to his storied family, even as some of his relatives have publicly disavowed his candidacy over his anti-vaccine opinions.

In a statement to ABC News, the super PAC’s co-chair, Tony Lyons, said, in part: “RFK Jr. offers us real change along with freedom, trust and hope. Like his uncle and his father, Kennedy is a corruption-fighter, and it’s no wonder the DNC is trying every old trick and inventing new tricks to stop him. The public sees through it all and won’t stand for it.”

PHOTO: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. rally in Tucson
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends a campaign rally at the Fox Theatre in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. February 5, 2024. REUTERS/Rebecca Noble
Rebecca Noble/Reuters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign said they were "surprised and grateful" about the ad.

“We are pleasantly surprised and grateful to the American Values PAC for running an ad during the Super Bowl where more than 100 million Americans got to see that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is running as an independent candidate for President of the United States," press secretary Stefanie Spear said in a statement to ABC News on Sunday night.

At least one member of the Kennedy family spoke out against the ad.

Bobby Shriver, son of John F. Kennedy's sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, posted on X: "My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces- and my Mother’s. She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA. She strongly supported my health care work at @ONECampaign & @RED which he opposes."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. later addressed the spot on X.

"I'm so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain," he wrote on the social media site. "The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you."

His independent candidacy has attracted some voters disaffected by America’s two major parties. Though polling suggests his support is low enough to make him a long shot to win the election, he may have enough backing to cause headaches for the Democratic and Republican nominees.

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