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RFK Jr. apologizes for controversial Super Bowl ad

By Jake Beardslee · February 12, 2024

In brief…

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized for controversial Super Bowl ad by super PAC backing his presidential campaign
  • Ad drew comparisons to JFK, used same template as 1960s ad, sparking criticism from RFK Jr.'s relatives
  • Bobby Shriver said his mother would be "appalled" by RFK Jr.'s healthcare views
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized after a controversial Super Bowl ad by a super PAC supporting his presidential campaign sparked criticism from his own relatives for inappropriately invoking JFK's legacy.  Tom Williams/Wikimedia

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has apologized for a controversial Super Bowl advertisement that aired Sunday from the super PAC backing his presidential campaign. The $7 million ad seen by tens of millions drew direct comparisons between Kennedy and his late uncle, former President John F. Kennedy, even using the same ad template as a 1960s JFK commercial.

In a social media post Sunday night, Kennedy said “I’m sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain.” He noted that “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.”

The ad sparked criticism from some of RFK Jr.’s own relatives, including his cousin Bobby Shriver, son of JFK’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Shriver stated that his mother “would be appalled” by Kennedy’s views on healthcare, saying “Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA.”

Bobby Shriver’s brother, Mark Shriver, also agreed with him in a social media post denouncing the ad. Kennedy has relied heavily on his family legacy in his campaign, but several relatives have spoken out against his candidacy, calling it “perilous for our country.”