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As expected, the Mitt Romney is defending its use of NBC News footage in a Florida ad as “fair use,” and today the candidate went on the network to explain why it was used.

Via Huffington Post, Romney told Matt Lauer of “Today,” “I think the reason that it was so effective as an ad was that this was not something which Speaker Gingrich could say had been distorted or Romney was telling things that were not accurate. This was the news from the night the speaker was sanctioned and reprimanded by his own members. People heard the news, they didn’t hear it filtered, it was just straight on, no heavy music that suggested some kind of sinister background. Instead just Tom Brokaw, a very credible and respected journalist, reporting the news. I think it was pretty devastating. It pointed out that what Speaker Gingrich has been trying to hide is now out in the open.”

NBC News and Tom Brokaw objected to the spot, as it is not merely a short bit but the entire opener to a report on Gingrich’s ethics violations.

It will be interesting to see if NBC takes legal action, but again, the advantage to the Romney campaign is the publicity generated for a 30-second spot.

 Romney also said that his campaign would soon be meeting with reps from NBC.