The super PAC backing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign aired a costly Super Bowl ad that didn’t just draw direct parallels between the independent candidate and his uncle, former president John F. Kennedy — it also used the exact same ad template.
The ad — seen by tens of millions of viewers — comes as Democratic concerns grow that Kennedy’s presidential run could pose a threat to President Joe Biden in critical battleground states. And it was an unusual dose of Mad Men-era political nostalgia amid the high gloss slate of expensive commercials.
The biggest difference between the ad that ran Sunday night and the JFK ad that ran in 1960 was, perhaps, the cost. The ad run by The American Values 2024 in support of Robert Kennedy Jr. ran nationally and cost the super PAC $7 million, according to an official at the committee.
In 1960, that would have been a roughly $675,000 expense for the John F. Kennedy Jr. campaign, according to inflation calculators.
In a statement, Tony Lyons, the founder of The American Values 2024 ad evoked the former president by name.
“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,” Lyons said. “They offer us soaring inflation, forever wars, and chronic disease. 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.”
Robert Kennedy Jr. has leaned on his famous family name and celebrity connections throughout his campaign, which started in the Democratic primary before he chose to run as an independent. Polling shows that his candidacy finds support among Democrats and Republicans, owing to an unorthodox set of policies he emphasizes, among them skepticism of vaccines.
But he and his super PAC have also shown the ability to raise a lot of money. The American Values 2024 had $14.8 million on hand at the end of 2023.