Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has distanced himself from a Superbowl ad run by a supportive super PAC that provoked backlash from family members.
Independent candidate for president Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK) has issued an apology and distanced himself from the content of a controversial Superbowl campaign ad, which attracted massive backlash from within his family and drew criticism from some political pundits.
Google Trends showed that internet searches for “RFK” soared after the spot was broadcast, with terms related to Mr. Kennedy receiving about 100 times more searches than average. However, there was backlash from the family, including from RFK’s cousins, Mark and Bobby Shriver, who were angry that their late mother’s face was used in the video.
“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” RFK said in response to the backlash.
“The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign … I love you all. God bless you.”
Federal campaign finance laws ban political campaigns from working directly in cooperation, consultation, or concert with super PACs. This includes candidates requesting or suggesting where, when, and how a super PAC airs its political communications.
Strategists Savage Ad
Among the other voices criticizing the ad was political strategist Robert Shrum, who was a speechwriter and consultant for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s uncle. According to Mr. Shrum, one of the biggest problems with the ad was a clear-cut case of plagiarism. Mr. Shrum also claimed in a follow-up post that the video was initially supposed to be 60 seconds but the RFK Jr. campaign cut it down.
“What a fraud— and to quote Lloyd Bentsen with a slight amendment, Bobby, you’re no John Kennedy. Instead you are a Trump ally.”
“This RFK Jr. Super Bowl ad has been criticized for ripping off his uncle’s 1960 campaign,” Mr. Luntz said.
“It should actually be criticized for saying absolutely nothing. And at a cost of millions of dollars, it rips off political donors as well.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s campaign for comment.
Jeff Louderback contributed to this article.