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Cough keeps former President George H.W. Bush in hospital

By James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) - Former President George H.W. Bush is in stable condition in the Texas hospital where he has been undergoing treatment for complications related to bronchitis and no release date has been set, officials said on Monday.

"He has a nagging cough and his doctors are in no hurry to send him home," said George Kovacik, a spokesman for The Methodist Hospital, Houston.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath told Reuters that Bush, 88, had a "really good day" on Sunday watching the Houston Texans National Football League team clinch a playoff birth by beating the Tennessee Titans, 24-10.

Bush was admitted to the hospital on November 23 for complications related to bronchitis.

The Houston Chronicle reported in February that Bush had been diagnosed with lower body parkinsonism, which causes a loss of balance, and that he often uses a wheelchair.

Bush, a Republican and the 41st president, took office in 1989 and served one term in the White House. The father of former President George W. Bush, he also served as a congressman, U.N. ambassador, envoy to China, CIA director and was vice president for two terms under Ronald Reagan.

As president, Bush routed Iraq after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. His public approval ratings soared but just 20 months later he was defeated in his re-election bid by Democrat Bill Clinton.

Until recent years, Bush was known for an active lifestyle. He went skydiving to celebrate his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays.

He met with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in early November in Houston. In March, Bush formally endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Bill Trott)

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