Jack Welch to GOP: Run a real conservative in 2016

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Republicans need to run a presidential candidate in 2016 like a Ted Cruz or a Rand Paul, not a Jeb Bush or a Chris Christie, management guru Jack Welch told CNBC on Monday.

Bush and Christie are "too middle of the road" to win the country, the conservative-leaning Welch said in a "Squawk Box" interview—a day before the 2014 midterm election in which Republicans hope to take control of the Senate.

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"We have to give a hard look to [Sens.] Rand Paul and Ted Cruz," the former General Electric chief continued. "I saw Ted Cruz on your show the other morning. I thought he was fabulous."

Last week, Cruz, a tea party favorite from Texas, told CNBC the only way the GOP can win the White House in 2016 is to run a strong, conservative candidate. Otherwise, he said, presumptive Democrat Hillary Clinton will win. Cruz has been mentioned in political circles as a possible Republican contender in 2016, though he did not address the issue during his "Squawk Box" appearance on Thursday.

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Welch agreed with Cruz, saying that playing to the middle has been losing strategy as evidenced by the losing campaigns of Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney.

"You got to give up on New York. You got to give up on California. Those are gone," he said. "Screw New York. You're going to lose New York. Forget it. Go to the country, this wonderful country, and present your ideas with an optimistic view."

"Ronald Reagan was attacked for the same things Ted Cruz is being attacked for," Welch said. "I would love to see the Republicans run somebody that they stand for."