Here's exactly the first novel you might expect from a reporter who covered Gary Hart and Geraldine Ferraro on the campaign trail and in her spare time wrote a nonfiction book called Staying Together: Marriages That Work (1976). Put those two elements together and you've got this story of an intolerably put- upon presidential candidate's wife who ends up humming a very familiar tune: ``Stand By Your Man.'' Kate Goodspeed is 45 when her husband, Luke, wins the top spot on the Democratic ticket, an event that leaves her ``flat-out dazzled,'' but still troubled on some deeper level over the fact that Luke's hotshot election advisor, Claire Lorenzo, insists she wear her blue linen instead of her favorite yellow frock at the victory bash. Clearly, Kate's compromising herself to get into the Oval Office (where, we're informed, ``a hell of a lot of history had taken place''). But it gets harder and harder to compromise when: her 15-year-old daughter gets pregnant and must have a secret abortion (Luke's too namby-pamby to take a firm position on the volatile issue); her adolescent son grows hostile; and, last but not least, Kate finds out that Luke's been spending his nights on the road with Claire. But Kate's too tough a cookie to crumble, so in order to keep her daughter's abortion out of the press, she admits that she had one herself 20 years ago--an act of such gutsiness that it wins her a Newsweek cover, the confidence to pull her husband's leash, and First Ladyhood. It's all very topical, of course, which is fun. But Kate comes up short as a character: it's hard to figure out why anyone would put up with so much baloney for a chance to repaper the White House walls.