Kennedy Cousins Slam Robert Kennedy Jr. Super Bowl Ad Mimicking JFK’s 1960 Spot – Update

UPDATE: Robert Kennedy Jr. apologized to family members for a Super Bowl spot that mimicked an ad run by his uncle John F. Kennedy during his 1960 presidential run.

“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” Kennedy wrote on X/Twitter. “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.”

More from Deadline

Kennedy did pin the ad to his X/Twitter account, where it remains.

Bobby Shriver, Kennedy’s cousin, objected to the spot, writing that his mother Eunice “would be appalled by his deadly health care views.” Mark Shriver wrote that he agreed with that sentiment against the ad, and Maria Shriver retweeted her brother’s objections.

The spot was from the American Values 2024, a SuperPAC aligned with his campaign. The Democratic National Committee filed a complaint last week, contending that the PAC has illegally coordinated with Kennedy’s campaign.

PREVIOUSLY: A Super PAC aligned with Robert Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential bid ran a Super Bowl spot that mimicked the ads for his uncle John F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign.

According to Medium Buying, the ad ran nationally. Super Bowl 30-second spots reportedly were going for $7 million.

The spot comes from the American Values 2024, which is supporting Kennedy’s campaign. The PAC had almost $15 million cash on hand as of the end of December, and major donors include Timothy Mellon and Gavin de Becker.

The ad is identical in tone and jingle to that of JFK’s spot in 1960.

While Nikki Haley and other House and Senate campaigns this year have been running spots in local markets on CBS stations before, during and after the Super Bowl, a national buy is a different story, primarily because of the cost and the notion that it’s better to target battleground markets. Still, the campaigns of Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg ran a spot during the Super Bowl in 2020. And RFK Jr.’s campaign is an independent bid building awareness among voters.

Kennedy originally ran in the Democratic primary, but switched to independent amid concern among many in the party that he was only helping Donald Trump’s prospects. Members of Kennedy’s family also oppose his candidacy.

The Democratic National Committee also filed a complaint against the PAC, claiming it was violating laws prohibiting coordination between such independent committees and campaigns. The DNC noted that the PAC’s largest donor, Mellon, who has given $15 million, also is the largest donor to Trump-aligned groups this cycle.

Political strategist Robert Shrum, speechwriter and consultant for Edward M. Kennedy, wrote on X/Twitter, “This RFK Jr. Super Bowl ad is a straight out plagiarism of JFK ad from 1960. What a fraud- and to quote Lloyd Bentsen with a slight amendment, ‘Bobby, you’re no John Kennedy.’ Instead you are a Trump ally.”

Bobby Shriver, Kennedy’s cousin and another nephew of the late president, wrote, “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.”

Kennedy wrote on X/Twitter, “Our momentum is growing. It’s time for an Independent President to heal the divide in our country.”

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.