Ex-President George H.W. Bush hospitalized

President 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 an emailed statement that doctors are still optimistic the 88-year-old Bush will make a full recovery, but are being “extra cautious” with his care. Bush is in stable condition, he said.

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.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said Thursday that Bush could be released in time for Christmas.

Kovacik said Sunday a discharge date has not been set, and it remains unclear whether Bush will be able to leave.

Kovacik said that could be decided Monday.