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Compromise key for GOP before 2016: Ex-Reagan aide

Election money reaches record levels

Republicans have a huge incentive to reach political compromise and push through meaningful legislation should they win control of the Senate in midterm elections next week, former Reagan White House chief Ken Duberstein told CNBC on Wednesday.

The GOP needs to find ways to put achievements on the wall to show they can govern, Duberstein said in a "Squawk Box " interview. The country is tired of gridlock, and further inaction in a Republican-controlled Congress could hurt the party's presidential prospects, he said.

"As you head toward 2016, as favorable as the map is now for Republicans, it favors the blue states in 2016," Duberstein said.

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The Republican leadership should identify clear goals on such issues as corporate tax reform, immigration reform and trade initiatives, he said. "Those are the things that are on the sweet spot of the Republicans, but also important to the White House, as well."

Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush in 2016?

Another former White House chief of staff, Thomas McLarty, agreed on "Squawk Box" that these are issues on which President Barack Obama can make progress with a conservative Congress.

"There are a lot of areas that he can work with a Republican Senate if that happens, and he should do the same regardless of the outcome. That's what the American people want," said McLarty, who was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

Looking to the 2016 presidential race, Duberstein said Jeb Bush is the person who can unite the Republican Party.

"Jeb is so comfortable in his own skin and he's well-grounded. He makes sense. He may not be Republican orthodoxy on a few issues, and I think that helps with the independent vote, not only the Republican base," he said.

Asked whether Hillary Clinton was moving left to attract supporters of potential 2016 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, McLarty said Clinton needed to focus on a vision for the country.

Clinton raised eyebrows this week after making comments at a campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley that seemed to play down corporations' role in creating jobs.

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