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George H.W. Bush Spends Christmas In Houston Hospital

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Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated Christmas in a Texas hospital with his family Tuesday after a series of health setbacks that have delayed his release, his spokesman said.

The 88-year-old was first admitted to Methodist Hospital in Houston on Nov. 7 for bronchitis treatment and released on Nov. 19. But he was readmitted on Nov. 23 after his cough flared up again.

"President Bush has had a series of setbacks which, combined with his age, have complicated the timeline for his release," spokesman Jim McGrath told AFP.

"His doctors are cautiously optimistic they have his current issues under control, and the president is spending Christmas with Mrs. Bush along with his son Neil and grandson Pierce."

McGrath did not provide more details, nor did he offer a possible release date. The Houston Chronicle reported that Bush had last week developed a fever after feeling weak for a few days.

Earlier this month, McGrath said the elder statesman, based on his pace of progress, would probably be discharged in time to spend Christmas at home.

Bush, a Republican, was in the White House from 1989 to 1993 and sent U.S. forces into Iraq in the first Gulf war after Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait.

During his time in public service, he also served as vice president, congressman and director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He is the father of former president George W. Bush.

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