Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized on Sunday night time after a well-funded tremendous PAC backing his unbiased presidential marketing campaign ran an advert in the course of the Tremendous Bowl that carefully resembled a spot supporting John F. Kennedy, his uncle, throughout his 1960 bid for the White Home.
The advert, which the tremendous PAC’s co-founder mentioned value $7 million, featured the identical jingle and the identical cheerful cartoons interspersed with candid images of the candidate, into which the youthful Mr. Kennedy’s face was superimposed.
A few of Mr. Kennedy’s relations, a lot of whom have denounced him due to his promotion of unsubstantiated theories about vaccines and different issues, rapidly criticized him over the advert.
Bobby Shriver, a nephew of John F. Kennedy, said on X: “My cousin’s Tremendous Bowl advert used our uncle’s faces — and my Mom’s. She can be appalled by his lethal well being care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & well being care fairness have been in her DNA.” His brother Mark Shriver wrote that he agreed.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. himself, who has invoked his storied political household and its legacy all through his candidacy, quickly responded.
“I’m so sorry if the Tremendous Bowl commercial triggered anybody in my household ache,” he wrote on X on Sunday night. “The advert was created and aired by the American Values Tremendous PAC with none involvement or approval from my marketing campaign. F.E.C. guidelines prohibit Tremendous PACs from consulting with me or my workers. I like you all. God bless you.”
Individually, the Democratic Nationwide Committee filed a criticism on Friday accusing the him and the tremendous PAC of unlawful coordination.
Mr. Kennedy is working for president as an unbiased, having left the Democratic Celebration in October, arguing that the Democratic main system was rigged in opposition to him. His candidacy has fearful many Democrats who worry that Mr. Kennedy — an environmental lawyer who has turn out to be a distinguished purveyor of conspiracy theories — may siphon votes away from President Biden.
The tremendous PAC has heightened suspicions about Mr. Kennedy’s base of assist. A considerable portion of the PAC’s funding, about $15 million, got here from Timothy Mellon, a Republican who has additionally given $10 million to a brilliant PAC backing former President Donald J. Trump.
“It’s becoming that the primary nationwide advert selling Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy was purchased and paid for by Donald Trump’s largest donor this cycle,” mentioned Alex Floyd, a spokesman for the Democratic Nationwide Committee. “R.F.Okay. Jr. is nothing greater than a Trump stalking horse on this race.”
Tremendous Bowl advertisements are sometimes heavy on nostalgia. Commercials on Sunday night time featured classic Volkswagen footage, a “Scrubs” reunion, and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Boston.
However the Kennedy advert — which took about 36 hours to supply, in response to the tremendous PAC’s co-founder, Tony Lyons — hit a distinct be aware. Whereas John F. Kennedy was working in 1960 as a 43-year-old Democrat, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is 70 years outdated and working as an unbiased — a self-described spoiler. (Regardless of Mr. Kennedy’s age, the advert nonetheless portrays him as youthful and athletic, together with a shot of him on skis.)
Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly confronted blowback from his household over his views.
In July, the previous president’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, posted a video calling his uncle’s marketing campaign “a humiliation,” saying the youthful Mr. Kennedy is “buying and selling in on Camelot, movie star conspiracy theories and battle for private acquire and fame.”
The Tremendous Bowl advert acquired a combined reception on the social media platform X. Ben Shapiro, a right-wing author, known as it “shockingly politically astute.”
Robert Shrum, a longtime Democratic political guide who labored with former Senator Edward M. Kennedy, wrote: “This RFK Jr. Tremendous Bowl advert is a straight out plagiarism of JFK advert from 1960. What a fraud — and to cite Lloyd Bentsen with a slight modification: ‘Bobby, you’re no John Kennedy.’ As a substitute you’re a Trump ally.”