01/30/2012 12:36 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2012

Chris Matthews: Mitt Romney Is 'Exterminator' For Negative Ads Against Gingrich (VIDEO)

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Chris Matthews titled Mitt Romney "the exterminator" for taking down Newt Gingrich with negative ads on Monday's "Morning Joe."

The MSNBC host was speaking to co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski in Florida in the lead-up to the state primary on Tuesday. Scarborough marveled that Newt Gingrich was still in the race after losing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Matthews said that the "real devastation" for Gingrich came from Romney's negative ads. He noted that Romney had spent $16 million in ads in Florida -- where the GOP candidate is expected to win -- and credited Romney's ads for Gingrich's loss in Iowa. He seemed to lament the negative barrage, wondering whether voters "are happy with the system that allows one candidate to annihilate the other one with negative ads."

He also speculated that the ads had a negative implication for Romney: that his campaign has been built on the weaknesses of other candidates, rather than support for himself. "There's no demand for Romney," Matthews said. "He's just the last man standing after this extermination campaign." Watch the segment in the clip above.

One ad attacking Gingrich has been particularly controversial because it uses archived NBC footage of Tom Brokaw reporting on Gingrich's ethics violations. Brokaw said that he was "extremely uncomfortable" with being featured in political ads, and Romney's campaign is slated to discuss the matter with NBC.