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Super PAC supporting RFK Jr. airs $7 million ad during Super Bowl

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s super PAC, American Values 2024, aired a 30-second ad about the independent candidate's presidential campaign during Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday. 

The ad highlighted images of the 70-year-old candidate in a vintage look, while using slogans, clips and a jingle that leaned into the legacy of his uncle, former President John F. Kennedy.  

But some members of Kennedy's family complained about his use of family images. Kennedy's cousin, Bobby Shriver, the son of Kennedy's aunt Eunice Kennedy Shriver, wrote on X, "My cousin's Super Bowl ad used our uncle's faces- and my Mother's. 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."

And Bobby Shriver's brother, Mark Shriver, also commented, saying, "I agree with my brother @bobbyshriver simple as that."  

Kennedy apologized to his family on social media, saying he is "sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain."

"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," said Kennedy's post. "I love you all. God bless you."  

However, the ad remained pinned to the top of Kennedy's X page on Monday morning and Kennedy's press secretary, Stefanie Spear, said in a separate statement to CBS News that "we are pleasantly surprised and grateful to the American Values PAC for running an ad during the Super Bowl where more han 100 million Americans got to see that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is running as an independent candidate for President of the United States."  

Super PAC co-founder Tony Lyons confirmed to CBS News that the Super Bowl ad cost $7 million

"The panicked DC power brokers are working overtime to keep Kennedy off the ballot because they know he can and will end their culture of greed and corruption. They offer us soaring inflation, forever wars, and chronic disease," Lyons said in a statement sent to CBS News.

As of now, Kennedy has only officially qualified for the ballot in Utah. According to the campaign, he met the signature threshold on Jan. 23, but the campaign is still working on paperwork.

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee filed an Federal Election Commission filing against Kennedy's campaign and his super PAC, claiming the two are colluding to get Kennedy on the ballot. 

"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," DNC spokesperson Alex Floyd said in a statement following the ad. 

"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," Lyons said Sunday. 

Political strategist Robert Shrum, a speechwriter and consultant for Kennedy's uncle, the late former Sen. Ted Kennedy, said on social media, "This RFK Jr. Super Bowl ad is a straight out plagiarism of JFK ad from 1960. What a fraud - and to quote Lloyd Bentsen with a slight amendment, 'Bobby, you're no John Kennedy.' Instead you are a Trump ally."

Several of Kennedy's family members had aleady condemned his independent bid for the presidency. In October 2023, when he announced he was going to run as an independent, four of his siblings issued a statement calling his decision "dangerous to the country." 

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