The super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent bid for president debuted an ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
American Values 2024 released a 30-second ad that was a remake of a 1960 campaign spot — with the same jingle and motif — for his uncle former President John F. Kennedy.
The super PAC said the ad cost $7 million and ran nationally.
The ad featured pictures of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. testifying in front of Congress and skiing, alongside the words “vote independent.”
Kennedy’s name spiked in searches on Google during the debut.
Kennedy’s ad — and his invocation of his family’s legacy — was quickly criticized by his cousin Bobby Shriver.
“My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces- and my Mother’s,” he wrote in a post on X. “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.”
Shriver’s brother, Mark, posted that he agreed.
Kennedy apologized to members of his family in a post on X, formerly Twitter, after the ad aired.
“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” he wrote. “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.”
Kennedy’s views, including his anti-vaccine advocacy, have resulted in condemnation from his family. In October, his four siblings put out a statement saying they “denounce” his candidacy and find his run “deeply saddening” and “perilous for our country.”
The ad comes just days after the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming the campaign and the super PAC were coordinating by accepting funding to assist with signature-gathering initiatives.
In a statement, DNC spokesperson Alex Floyd pointed to the fact that Kennedy’s super PAC has received a significant amount of money from Timothy Mellon, a major donor to a super PAC backing Trump’s presidential bid.
“It’s fitting that the first national ad promoting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy was bought and paid for by Donald Trump’s largest donor this cycle. RFK Jr. is nothing more than a Trump stalking horse in this race,” Floyd said.
Kennedy is currently on the ballot only in Utah.
“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,” AV24 co-founder Tony Lyons said in a statement Sunday night.
Former President Donald Trump’s campaign released an ad criticizing his opponent Nikki Haley, but it ran only in her home state, South Carolina.
President Joe Biden also did not participate in the traditional presidential Super Bowl interview this year.