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Cough keeps George H.W. Bush in Texas hospital

George H.W. Bush is being treated for a bronchitis-related cough.

George H.W. Bush is being treated for a bronchitis-related cough.

HOUSTON — George H.W. Bush, who has been in a Houston hospital with a lingering cough since November, needs to ‘‘build up his energy’’ before he can be released, doctors said Sunday.

Methodist Hospital spokesman George Kovacik said in a statement that doctors are still optimistic the 88-year-old former president will make a full recovery, but are being ‘‘extra cautious’’ with his care. Bush is in stable condition, he said.

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Kovacik said Sunday a discharge date has not been set, and it remains unclear whether the 41st president will be able to spend Christmas at home. Kovacik said that could be decided Monday.

Bush was hospitalized Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough.

Hospital officials have said Bush has been receiving physical therapy to increase his strength.

The former president’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, had said on Thursday that Bush might be released in time for Christmas.

The former president also was in the hospital with a cough for about a week in early November.

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