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HOUSTON — Former President George H.W. Bush spent Christmas in a Houston hospital with his wife, Barbara, and other relatives who planned to treat him to a special holiday meal.

Mr. Bush’s son, Neil, and his wife also visited Tuesday, and one of Mr. Bush’s grandsons was planning to stop by as well, said spokesman Jim McGrath.

The 88-year-old has been in the hospital since Nov. 23 with a lingering, bronchitislike cough. A hospital spokesman had said Mr. Bush was likely to be released to spend Christmas at home, but then Mr. McGrath said the former president developed a fever.

Doctors remain “cautiously optimistic” Mr. Bush will recover, but they want to keep him in the hospital while they help him build his strength and balance his medications, Mr. McGrath said.

On Christmas, the Bush family normally eats at Gigi’s Asian Bistro in Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, Mr. McGrath said. There were plans to pick up food at the upscale restaurant and bring the meal to the hospital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.