LEE Hart, her long, brown hair tossing in the breeze, told the small crowd at Baptist Bible College that her husband, Gary, is the presidential candidate who could both ''carry the country'' and ''lead into the future.
''A new generation means all of us,'' she said, striking up a variation of her husband's campaign theme. ''It isn't chronological. It's a new generation of spirit, of creative thinking in resolving problems.''
Mrs. Hart, whose speaking style is more gracious than oratorical, soon ended her formal message and moved to the main objective of her short visit, spreading good will by mingling with the crowd. Cheerfully dispensing autographs, she repeatedly asked to be reminded of the date. ''Sixteenth. Oh yes, sweet 16, that's how I'll remember it,'' she said to herself.
Spotting a baby, Mrs. Hart said, ''Oh, you've got hearts on your dress. How wonderful!''
From first glance, Oletha (Lee) Hart cuts an image that contrasts sharply with that of her husband. While the Democratic senator from Colorado is ruggedly handsome and serious to the point of solemnity, his wife and former college sweetheart has an elegant and refined beauty and ready smile. While he is reserved and self-contained, she is extroverted and spontaneous.
''I express my feelings more quickly and demonstratively than Gary,'' she observed in an interview, while flying from Charleston to her next campaign stop.
''Gary is first of all an extremely serious, reflective person,'' she said, tracing those traits to the economic struggles of his family. She hastened to add, ''But he combines that with a sense of humor always. He doesn't take himself so seriously that he can't stand back.''
Born in Lawrence, Kan., in 1936, Mrs. Hart was reared in Kansas City, Mo. She described her home life there as warm and happy. Her father, Sylvester T. Ludwig, was an ordained minister and official in the Church of the Nazarene and for a short time was president of Oklahoma's Bethany Nazarene College, which both Gary and Lee attended.
''My mother (Clara Ludwig) was one of 10 children, born and raised on a farm, '' she said, noting that she has ''strong rural roots.''
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