February 12, 2024

"I'm so 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. I love you all. God bless you."

Tweets RFK Jr., about this ad, which I'm seeing because he has it pinned in his Twitter feed: Do you have a problem with the ad? Should RFK Jr. refrain from trading on his name entirely or is there just some line that he should not cross? But where is that line? And how can he force his supporters to stay behind it? It's one of the many travails of being a Kennedy.

Who are the "family" who objected and did they object for any reason other than that they prefer some other candidate? It looks as though the public criticism came from Bobby Shriver. If it had been Caroline Kennedy, the objection would have been more compelling. Who is Bobby Shriver? The son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he's currently the mayor of Santa Monica. He's interesting for the women he's lost to:
In March 2009 Shriver was reported to be considering becoming a candidate in the 2010 California Attorney General election.He did not run, and Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate, was elected Attorney General.

On January 21, 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that Shriver launched his campaign for Los Angeles County supervisor. Shriver was defeated by former state senator Sheila Kuehl.

Kamala Harris famously went on to become Vice President of the United States, but you may need a prompt to remember Sheila Kuehl.  Kuehl was Zelda on my all-time favorite TV show "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis":

Reflecting on the lasting impact of her role as Zelda, Kuehl told an interviewer, "First, there were no smart girls on television, period. All the girls were better looking than me, but dumb. I didn't mean the actresses were dumb, but that was sort of what you had to be in those days. So, a smart girl, brash, did not know she was a loser, which was sort of the theme for all the characters on Dobie Gillis… you just keep doing what you are doing because you don't know there's anything wrong with you. And the other thing, of course, 20 years later I started getting letters from young women saying, 'You were such a role model for me,' and now that the women's movement had started, I could see why. An independent, smart girl, knew what she wanted, went after it, but not in a mean way. And always by the end of the show, if you were doing anything dishonest against your friends, you would repent, because friendship was always the most important thing."

67 comments:

Curious George said...

"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."

That's not preventing the DNC from suing him for just that.

Kate said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see an RFK ad in the Super Bowl. Clever strategy. I didn't know it was an actual JFK ad reboot and I didn't know the superpac paid for it.

I like it even more now. It's got legs.

Gusty Winds said...

The woke part of the Kennedy family is a waste of time. RFK Jr. has sins just like his Uncle and Father.

I don't think JFK or RFK Sr. would leave the US Southern border wide open, or risk a wide scale war with Russia. They avoided that during the Cuban Missile crisis.

The commercial was nostalgic. But, I thought the message was also RFK Jr. is an old time REASONABLE Democrat. Not the modern day corrupt, anti-free speech and vote fraud supporting type.

I was glad to see him get some Superbowl exposure. Hoping there is a place for him in the Trump administration.

Gusty Winds said...

The Biden administration has denied him Secret Service protection. I'm sure there are qualification details, but the bottom line is those assholes want Trump in prison, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind seeing RFK Jr. snuffed out. Let's hope that Kennedy line isn't crossed.

Aggie said...

Bad move on his PAC's part. But he doesn't help himself either - every single time that I've heard him speak, I've liked some of the things he's had to say - but he never fails to reference his father or both of his uncles. He's already drawing on the family 'cred' - and that's not the asset he thinks it is.

rehajm said...

Who are the "family" who objected and did they object for any reason other than that they prefer some other candidate

If anyone fails to see this crass political move as anything other than a crass political move I have a problem with you because you can't see you have a problem...

Tina Trent said...

It's a Monster Mash.

wordsmith said...

I'd nominate the ad as 1) most memorable (for its low production values) and also 2) least likely to motivate anyone to buy what it's selling. (To its credit, at least I remember it and what it was selling. Beyonce on a rocket ship not so much.)



rehajm said...

Now if you want to object to an ad do the one where the devil is quoting scripture. I knew Jesus. Jesus was a friend of mine...

MadisonMan said...

"To those family members who are upset about a poltical ad, I can only say this: Get over it"

That would be a better way to respond I think.

Yancey Ward said...

His family is against him because they know he draws votes from normal Democrat voters.

AMDG said...

He has every right to trade on his name. The problem is that the notion of Camelot has faded away. For anybody under the age of 70 your memories of the Kennedys is more Chappaquiddick, Pam Kelly, drugs, Palm Beach rapes, and other debauchery. The baby boom era Kennedys have not exactly covered themselves in glory.

Dave Begley said...

Bobby's family hates him for expressing his political views. How fucking unAmerican is that! For the Dems, party loyalty is everything.

Kevin said...

A family member could have called him privately.

And he could have responded privately.

tim maguire said...

Why is he running at all? Seriously, if he's going to apologize for a perfectly decent ad that he didn't eve put out, then what is he doing in the race?

Imagine if you were a volunteer for Kennedy and he lets it be known that he will not do his best to win, that he puts a higher priority on not hurting the tender sensibilities of some distant family member who won't be voting for him anyway. Why would you continue? Why would you donate? Why would you not immediately start looking around for someone else to support?

gspencer said...

Q. "[O]r is there just some line that he should not cross?"

A. A bullet's trajectory line.

Wince said...

Biden should apologize for his cringe-worthy shrinkflation ad.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Max Shulman an interesting guy. Somewhere in the 90s I suggested to a friend that I might try teaching "Love is a Fallacy": college students in the 50s, dating but probably little or no sex, no heavy German material in class, the bright boy is attracted to a popular girl and he lectures her about logic. In the end she chooses the boy who is popular, performs in the stands at football games, and wears a raccoon skin coat. My friend said: you can't teach that these days.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Max Shulman an interesting guy. Somewhere in the 90s I suggested to a friend that I might try teaching "Love is a Fallacy": college students in the 50s, dating but probably little or no sex, no heavy German material in class, the bright boy is attracted to a popular girl and he lectures her about logic. In the end she chooses the boy who is popular, performs in the stands at football games, and wears a raccoon skin coat. My friend said: you can't teach that these days.

rehajm said...

How quick they were with the counter. They knew it was coming and had the stories loaded the honey wagon ready to spread this morning, long before what counts as water cooler talk could build momentum on how clever and likable the ad was. Political Science indeed...

chickelit said...

I didn’t watch the Superb Owl. But this controversy made me watch the ad. So it worked.
Now do the chest-bumping brute who has captured America’s sweetheart.

Conrad said...

The professed concern about causing pain seems like high-level sarcasm. How could anyone be hurt by it?

Carol said...

Hard to believe the Kennedy name has any cachet at all, after all the revelations coming out over the years. But I guess it's all about the low info voter, as usual.

chickelit said...

“His family is against him because they know he draws votes from normal Democrat voters.“

That Kennedy’s family colludes with the likes of Joe Biden makes me dislike them.

Cappy said...

The voting public is way to young to even know what the ad was.

planetgeo said...

For a minute there I thought that this Super Bowl ad might have caused some people pain because it was the only one that featured a white person that you're supposed to like. My bad. (Memo to self: must self-flagellate.)

Iman said...

Throw in a few stills of Marilyn Monroe and a representation or two of AGOTUS Bobby Kennedy wiretapping MLK Jr. and it’s closer to the truth.

Iman said...

They should’ve “Pink Panthered” it a bit.

Temujin said...

I was at a friend's house to watch part of the game. There were about 12 people of mixed political persuasion and literally no one was talking politics. It was the Super Bowl, right? Even as the "Black National Anthem" was happening, no one was paying attention, or commenting other than to say the singer had a great voice, but the conversations were about anything else.

The talk was pretty much all through the game up until the RFK Jr. ad came on. Then...as if someone flicked an off button- all talk ceased. The room was shut down, everyone listening to and watching the RFK Jr. ad. I think it caught all of us by surprise. And all had the same reaction: It's the first RFK ad we had seen, and it just...wasn't expected. No other comments, no one delved into who they want or what it meant. Just noted that an- up to then- 2 hour steady conversation was stopped on a dime when his ad came up.

It said a lot to me. I'm thinking this guy would have a large impact if he could get traction. If nothing else, out of curiosity. I would not vote for him. But...I think many would consider it.

Lastly- who knew Zelda had a second life as an LA County Supervisor? And what a career she had doing that. Loved that show. Absolutely remember every character.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

They see RFK’s “crackpot” status as a tarnishing the brand?

If it was the son that died crashing into the sea, they wouldn’t mind one bit.

Rich said...

JFK urged Polio vaccines for everyone in the US. RFK Jr is an anti-vaxxer and propagandist for the far-right and conspiracy theorists (which, nowadays, is one and the same). His campaign spent $7 million on a Super Bowl ad that (very actively) tried to tap into the family brand.

Mike said...

I'll save everyone some time: just assume anything that issues from RFK Jr's mouth is a lie. You'll be right 90% of the time. The reason the Kennedy family is opposing him is because they know the kind of slimeball he is: the kind who's making millions from lying about vaccines and bringing back measles.

Left Bank of the Charles said...


“Who are the "family" who objected and did they object for any reason other than that they prefer some other candidate?”

Bobby Shriver’s reason is RFK Jr.’s “deadly health care views”:

“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.”

RigelDog said...

I recognized Sheila Kuehl's name as a prominent figure in the Covid Years-of-Insanity-and-Inanity. She was famous for casting the deciding vote in LA to institute a ban on OUTDOOR dining---but then making a point to visit her favorite restaurant immediately, before the ban went into effect. Outdoor dining safe and OK one day; deadly nasty killer the next.

Leland said...

I want to know what you get Doordash brings you from the Kennedy ad? Is it a voter registration card? Is it a pre-filled mail-in-ballot?

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I'll translate from the polite and slightly technical politispeech: Sorry/Not sorry. Vote for me.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see an RFK ad in the Super Bowl.

Same here. Nice break from the Temu ChiComs, woke Jesus and the constant celebretard onslaught. Not enough funny this year. I was expecting MORE Caveman, Geico. WTF?

Levi Starks said...

It was surprising. I had to explain who he was to my wife. She only watches mainstream media news, so naturally she’s never heard of him. I’d easily vote for him over either Trump or Biden.
As near as I can tell his memory is fully in tact.

Big Mike said...

Do you have a problem with the ad?

I thought it was trite and amateurish. I had just started my high school freshman year back when Jack Kennedy was elected, and I have a recollection that in 1960 most (all?) advertising really was amateurish. For that reason l assumed it was based on an old JFK ad. I wasn’t going to vote for Bobby Junior before the ad and it didn’t even begin to change my opinion so I had no problem with it.

Should RFK Jr. refrain from trading on his name entirely

No. I’m not sure he even can.

or is there just some line that he should not cross?

If there is, he’s nowhere near it.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

I'm voting for the person who is serious (no broken promises) about closing the border and deporting the illegal entrants.

all of them.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

NBC Rich,
"the far right" are not anti-VAX for questioning the Chi Com/big pharma/big government forced jab. An untested forced jab. Developing useful vaccines can take years if not decades.
The Chi Com Virus Jab was rushed and untested, and over-promised to save us all - with shape-shifting promises as to the jabs effectiveness.
Disobedience was not allowed. Free speech - not allowed. You. Will. Get. The Jab.
Natural immunity? The Jab people will have none of it!

Now the chi com virus vaccines are showing signs of heart problems in men and other unpleasant side-effects, like a mimic of long covid memory loss. oh but Rich knows the enemy is the "far right" because Rich is loyal to the radical left's diktats.
Obedience in unison

The chi com virus vax is not the same thing as a polio vax, or most of the childhood vaccines that most people do not question.

rehajm said...

Bobby's family hates him for expressing his political views. How fucking unAmerican is that! For the Dems, party loyalty is everything

…having been sort of close to liberal families toward the top of the organizational chart this type of public signaling isn’t the fodder of strife on the cape next summer. The shit that leads to feuds are things like not getting senator leftie to write an endorsement for the book jacket of the crappy ‘how to be a good liberal’ book someone else wrote but I put my name on. That’s the stuff of Hatfield and McCoy’s…

Wilbur said...

Sheila Kuehl appeared on a Beverly Hillbillies episode, "Cabin in Beverly Hills", where she played Ginny Jennings, a self-righteous Leftist college student who intrusively enters into the Clampett's happy life. Seemed pretty close to her real self.

Loved her as Zelda.

D.D. Driver said...

I thought the ad was fantastic. It helped wash the taste out of my mouth after watching Ben Affleck and Tom Brady rapping about Dunkin Donuts. It was simple and retro and completely different and unexpected. Total win for me.

Howard said...

At first I thought it was a parody designed to infantilize Bobby Junior. Makes sense it was really a Trump advertisement.

robother said...

Temujin: " I'm thinking this guy would have a large impact if he could get traction." Kind of tautologically true, but I agree. At this point, if Democrats are seriously reassessing Biden, RFK, Jr.'s third party candidacy is the only realistic option for wealthy donors or voters. Especially since it appears there's no way Joe and Jill will step down.

Jupiter said...

"Bobby's family hates him for expressing his political views."

Actually, they hate him for expressing his scientific views, and for very capably supporting them. I'm not sure what he is trying to do, but it seems unlikely he is trying to get elected President of the United States.

Yancey Ward said...

"Bobby Shriver’s reason is RFK Jr.’s “deadly health care views”

This is horseshit, you probably know it, Left Bank. If RFK Jr. were fully on board with vaccinations, Bobby Shriver would then find some other reason to oppose his uncle's independent run for the Presidency. The reason his family is opposing his run is because they know it helps Trump win, not whoever the Democrat candidate is. It is the same reason Ralph Nader lost so many friends in 2000 and 2004, and he didn't have issues that cut against the normal trend of progressive belief systems- it was the very fact that he was drawing away support from the only Democrat that could win the election.

mikee said...

I watched the Super Bowl last night. I saw that ad. Now I'll be able to answer the future Trivial Pursuit Question, "What third party presidential candidate with zero chance of affecting the election's outcome had a SuperPac run a campaign ad for him during the 2024 Super Bowl?" Because this candidacy, with this ad, just saw Kennedy's campaign apogee.

Joe Smith said...

Not sure why he wouldn't 'trade on his name.'

It's the only reason he is where/what he is.

He would be an obscure, mid-level-manager accountant without it.

chickelit said...

From the comments here, I do believe we have a candidate who could best shake up the corrupt and complacent D-party. The country needs him.

Question for viewers of the event last night: How many Big pharma ads were there urging patients to tell their doctor that they need…

JaimeRoberto said...

@Lloyd W. Robertson

Our family has a tradition of reading Shulman's Barefoot Boy with Cheek before one heads off to college. The book chronicles the life of a naive small town boy as he navigates his freshman year at the fictional University of Minnesota. He's torn between two women, a pretty sorority girl and a campus radical with a faint mustache on her upper lip. It was written in the 1940s but it's funny how relevant it is today.

RBE said...

Probably the Kennedys that were complaining about the ad are part of the same family alliance that gave Harry and Meagan the "Ripple of Racism" award or whatever it was called.

JK Brown said...

This is just positioning by RFKjr. I saw him tell, I believe Bill Maher, that the "Boomers" should support him because they remember Camelot, etc. But they don't because they are controlled by the old media news. Of course, the only Boomers who remember Camelot and JFK as anything other than something from the past were born before 1953. Hardly half the generation.

JK Brown said...

As for smart girls. Perhaps Zelda was a push back on the 1950s girls. But Diana Lynn had two good supporting roles as the smart girl in 1942's 'The Major and the Minor' even being very into chemistry and 1943's 'Miracle at Morgan's Creek' as the smart younger sister.


Jerry said...

Watched the ad and went "Huh. That's oddly old-fashioned." So as an ad, it worked. It got my attention in a semi-positive manner, and didn't insult the viewer.

Still wouldn't vote for a Kennedy though, unless I didn't have any other R option. I don't like political dynasties, and think they've done quite enough for/to the country over the last 70 years.

effinayright said...

My elder son, in his early 30's, doesn't follow politics. Otherwise he's a bright guy who's doing well in life.

Watching the ad, he didn't know RFK Jr. is the son of the RFK assassinated back in the 60's.

The Old Order passeth.

readering said...

The first presidential campaign ad song I remember hearing was Goldwater in '64. "In your heart you know he's right . . . ." My parents were big Goldwater supporters. As a teenager I remember looking at archives of other ads. I like Ike. Sinatra singing high hopes for Kennedy. An FDR campaign song. The one JFK's nephew's PAC stole from. I guess folks got too cynical for such ads after Watergate.

walter said...

Gusty Winds said... I was glad to see him get some Superbowl exposure.
--
I watched the game at the home of a couple of Madison area liberals.
They were both surprised RFK was running.
The wife liked the Pfizer commercial.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

The controversy has more people watching and talking about the ad. It may do more to boost his visibility than all the rest of his campaign so far.

Ambrose said...

I liked the ad, and I am one who thinks RFK Jr is a terrible person who has no business in public office.

RMc said...

There's one part they forgot to scrub from the original 1960 ad: at the 0:22 mark, you can see "VOTE DEMOCRATIC" in small letters.

loudogblog said...

He didn't apologize for the ad. He said that he was sorry that his (Biden supporting) relatives were offended. Big difference.

His relatives are all hard core Biden supporters and they're offended that he is running against Biden.

It's amazing how many people are commenting on this by just reading the inflammatory headline instead of digging down and looking for the real truth.

Seriously, I encourage everyone to go to the web sites of all the presidential candidates and look at their actual positions. RFK Jr. is not that far out of the mainstream. If he had over a billion dollars, he might actually win.

walter said...

RFKjr is pretty seasoned to have just recently realized the problems of an open border.
He's also spent a long time being a climate nut.

Beth B said...

I thought the ad was grotesque. All I could hear when I saw it was Sen. Lloyd Bentsen saying, "You're no Jack Kennedy." Well, that, and the sound of Jack & Bobby spinning in their graves. Absolutely shameless.

It's crazy to me that anyone from any party, especially conservatives, would look at this kooky, roided-up Hunter Biden clone as a great alternative to anything, regardless of the choices we're faced with. This election is like bobbing for turds, where the best you can hope for is to get the smallest one.

Prof. M. Drout said...

When that bizarre commercial came on I immediately thought: "A whole bunch of 94-year-olds in nursing homes are going to be EXTREMELY confused by this."

It's always amazing to see how BAD, in contemporary terms, old advertising was, and yet it worked extremely well (better than "good" advertising does today, I'm told).

I hope this shows that as time goes on a cultural immunity develops. The little red "As seen on TV" tag that seemed to impress Boomers and their parents becomes the pathetic joke it was to GenX and eventually went extinct. Hopefully the same thing will happen to todays most powerful advertising manipulations (TikTok, "influencers," etc.). Maybe someday my grandchildren will say to their parents "You actually bought something because an 'influencer' pretended to us it? No way! How gullible could you possibly be?"

Rusty said...

Any third party candidate is only going to help Trump. The usual suspects will vote for Kennedy. Along with their parents , if they're still alive. "Jack Kennedy is running again!?" " Isn't he just dreamy?"