01/19/2012 12:13 pm ET

Joe Scarborough: Newt Gingrich Taps Into Conservatives' Resentments (VIDEO)

There is no love lost between Joe Scarborough and Newt Gingrich. That made the MSNBC host's kind words for Gingrich all the more surprising on Thursday morning.

Polls in South Carolina show that Romney is still leading the pack, but that his lead over Gingrich is shrinking. Scarborough joked, "There are only going to be three species that survive the nuclear holocaust: cockroaches, Cher and Newt Gingrich. He keeps coming back!"

The MSNBC host, who has blasted Gingrich in the past, attributed the candidate's surge to his strong debate performance on Monday night. Gingrich received a standing ovation.

Then, Scarborough admitted that he believes Gingrich is able to tap into Republicans' resentment against elites and the party's own politicians. He said, "In the age of Mitt Romney, in the age of George W. Bush... you see Newt Gingrich raging against the machine and Mark Halperin, there's just something in you as a conservative that says, 'You tell 'em Newt.'"

Scarborough also criticized frontrunner Mitt Romney for his off-the-cuff comments about his wealth, which he said make him seem out of touch with the American people. Watch his take on the GOP race in the clip above.