In a surprising change from his usual tune, Joe Scarborough had some mildly nice things to say about Newt Gingrich on Monday's "Morning Joe."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski began the show with news of Gingrich's eight-point drop in Iowa in the past week. Scarborough has made no effort to hide his disdain for Gingrich, repeatedly attacking the candidate on-air and in writing. But he actually defended Gingrich on Monday.
"I've been kind of tough on the speaker," Scarborough acknowledged, much to the amusement of contributor Mark Halperin. He chalked Gingrich's slip in the polls up to "a steady barrage of anti-Newt ads coming from all sides, from Mitt's super PAC, Ron Paul's super PAC."
"And again I think he has many flaws," Scarborough cautioned, "But let's be fair about this. I don't know that any politician could withstand the barrage of negative attacks that Newt has handled over the past two weeks."
He also praised Gingrich's performance on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. The GOP candidate had said he would be willing to arrest a judge who he thought was out of line. Scarborough said that he disagreed "with everything [Gingrich] said," and that it "scared the hell out of me." But he called it a "command performance," where "Newt Gingrich looked as good and as confident and as calm as I've seen him in years."