March 18 — Senators prepare for two weeks of debate on campaign finance reform. "Every special interest that uses money to gain access and influence in Washington is opposed to this bill," says Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who co-authored legislation to ban so-called soft money. Bush opposes the bill and has called for legislation to limit, but not eliminate, the unregulated contributions to political parties.
March 19 — The Senate begins debate on campaign finance reform legislation co-authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Bush's main rival for the Republican nomination. Bush meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. "The interrelationship between our two economies is important," the president says. "The stronger we are, the more likely it is there will be prosperity in other parts of the world."
March 20 — Bush signs a repeal of workplace safety regulations issued during the Clinton administration, calling them "unduly burdensome and overly broad." Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham declares the nation is facing "a major energy supply crisis." The president has his first meeting with newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House.
March 21 — The Bush administration moves to scrap new rules proposed during President Clinton's final days in office that would have sharply limited the amount of arsenic allowed in public drinking water. "It is baffling — just baffling," says Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. "We're going to have to put warning labels on water bottles."
March 22 — A month after FBI Special Agent Robert Hannsen was arrested on charges of spying for Russia and the former Soviet Union, Secretary of State Colin Powell orders 50 Russian diplomats believed to be involved in espionage activities to leave the United States. It is the largest expulsion of diplomats in 15 years. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov calls the move a "political act."
March 23 — In a Cold War-style tit-for-tat, Russia expels 50 U.S. Embassy officials in retaliation for the Bush administration's expulsion of 50 Russian diplomats a day earlier. The president stumps for his tax cut in Maine on a trip aimed at pressuring the state's two Republican senators —Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — to support the $1.6 trillion plan.
March 24 — For the sixth consecutive week, the president uses his radio address to plug his plan to cut taxes by $1.6 trillion over 10 years. Noting that discretionary government spending grew by 8 percent last year, Bush says, "If this spending spree were to continue, we would drain the surplus by funding a permanently larger government. This would be bad for the taxpayer, and bad for the economy."
March 25 — After a week of Senate debate over legislation co-authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and opposed by Bush to ban soft money, the former rivals for the GOP nomination deny there is "bad blood" between them. "There certainly isn't between me and the president," says McCain. "We're friends, says Bush. "We don't agree 100 percent of the time but we're going to agree a lot of the time."
March 26 — Bush embarks on a two-day, three-state trip to pitch his tax cut. "I believe the economy has slowed down and we better do something about it," the president tells reporters. "I'm confident if we do the right thing, we can have economic growth, the likes of which we had in the past."