Elder President Bush remains in a hospital in intensive care

President George H.W. Bush

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO

President George H.W. Bush

Though he is reportedly alert and enjoying a "running banter" with his nurses, former President George H.W. Bush is in the intensive care unit at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

The Houston Chronicle writes that "Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said the 88-year-old's fever rose on Wednesday, but doctors at Methodist Hospital report he is doing better than the day before. He was admitted to the ICU on Sunday."

The nation's 41st president has been in the hospital since the day after Thanksgiving. He went there for treatment of a persistent cough. A fever has kept him there.

Bush is the oldest — by about four months — of the four living former presidents. He turned 88 in June. Jimmy Carter turned 88 in October. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (son of the ailing former president) are both 66.

The Chronicle says Bush has been "surrounded by family" during his hospital stay.

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