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Spokesman: George H.W. Bush may leave the hospital this weekend, be home by Christmas

Ex-President George H.W. Bush's monthlong stay in a Houston hospital for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough appears to be nearing an end.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said Thursday that Bush might be released from the Methodist Hospital at the weekend and be home in time Christmas.

Hospital officials have said the 88-year-old former president is steadily improving and that he's been receiving physical therapy to increase his strength.

Bush has been in the hospital since Nov. 23. He also was in the hospital with a cough for about a week in early November.

Bush and his wife, Barbara, spend winters at their home in Houston and summers at their home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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