Robert F Kennedy Jr has apologized to his family for a Super Bowl advert, made in support of his presidential bid, that closely resembled one broadcast by his uncle, President John F Kennedy, in 1960.
The 30-second ad, which cost around $7 million (£5.5 million), featured an abbreviated version of the Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy For Me jingle from the successful 1960 White House campaign against Richard Nixon .
Old-fashioned photos of Mr. Kennedy also appeared to be inserted into the original advertisement.
Mr. Kennedy, 70, is an environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist. He is running as an independent in the 2024 campaign.
He is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while running for president in 1968, five years after his brother’s assassination. JFK.
The ad was criticized both by the wider Kennedy family and other political figures.
He apologized on social media “if the super bowl “The publicity made anyone in my family suffer,” but he distanced himself from it.
He said the ad was created by American Values 2024 – a pro-Kennedy political action committee (PAC) – “without any involvement or endorsement” from his campaign.
But the announcement remains the first message pinned to Mr. Kennedy’s page on X.
Bobby Shriver, whose mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver was JFK’s sister, said: “My cousin’s Super Bowl commercial used our uncle’s faces — and my mother’s,” Mr. Shriver wrote.
“She would be appalled by his deadly views on health care. Respect for science, vaccines and health care equity was in her DNA.”
In response, RFK Jr posted separately: “I am truly sorry if the Super Bowl commercial caused any member of my family pain. The ad was created and distributed by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or endorsement from my campaign. FEC rules ban Super PAC after consulting with me or my team. I love you all. God bless you.
Bob Shrum, speechwriter for another late uncle of Mr. Kennedy, former U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, said: “This RFK Jr Super ad is pure plagiarism.”
Super PACs are organizations allowed to raise and spend an unlimited amount on political candidates, but are prohibited from coordinating with campaigns.
Just two days before the ad aired, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing the American Values PAC of collusion with Mr. Kennedy’s campaign.
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He has denied any wrongdoing.
American Values received $15 million from Tim Mellon, who is also a donor to Donald Trump.
Mr. Kennedy is clearly lagging behind Joe Biden and Mr. Trump, the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees, in the polls.