It will come as a surprise to no one that Donna Rice, the sunny, fun-loving Florida pal of former presidential hopeful Gary Hart, thinks she has a book the public might want to read. U.S. News & World Report is reporting that the blond Phi Beta Kappa has contacted a New York literary agent. Rice, of course, is not interested in a kiss-and-tell book. She apparently believes that the reading public is anxiously awaiting insights into her philosophy of life. Now there's a best seller in the making. It will be revealing to see how many publishers line up to bid on that book.

The magazine is also reporting this week that Lt. Col. Oliver North is scouting for a book deal of his own. The central figure in the Iran-contra affair, however, will probably run into legal problems in any book venture. As an employe of the National Security Council, he signed an oath not to disclose classified information. Vanna's Letter of Approval

As nearly everyone surely must know, Vanna White knows her letters and has a genuine appreciation for anyone else who can turn a letter correctly. When the "Wheel of Fortune" lady discovered that Stephanie Petit had won the national spelling bee here last week, she sent off a telegram of congratulations.

Her message to the 13-year-old student in Bethel Park, Pa., said, "I was a fairly good speller in school, but the winning word 'staphylococci' would have stumped me. From one who spends her life with letters, congratulations on winning the national spelling bee." Vanna is some role model. Just look at the fame words and letters have brought her. Out and About

The Florida House of Representatives may give awards to singers, but there are rules about the dress for the occasion. The House honored country singer Willie Nelson following a concert he gave in Tallahassee. In the resolution, the Texas singer was called "a soul brother who plays country music, picks guitar and plays 'On the Road Again.' " Nelson wasn't there for the ceremony, but his pal Key West beach balladeer Jimmy Buffett came to the chamber for the award. Buffett, unfortunately, is a casual dresser, and even though he was there with a House member, the sergeant-at-arms wouldn't let him enter. Rules require a coat and tie, and Buffett is rarely, if ever, seen dressed that way ...

Gary Hart's problems notwithstanding, the Democrats are setting their sights on the White House and are even turning to modern technology for instant video press releases and statements. As part of an effort to raise funds for satellite communications, they're throwing a $1,000-a-plate, black-tie dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on Wednesday. The fundraiser will bring out the leadership of both houses, some 40 U.S. senators and one of the leading contenders for the nomination, Jesse Jackson ...

Enduring singing star Perry Como is to receive the National Italian American Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award for entertainment at the group's annual dinner here in October. Como's career as an entertainer spans more than 50 years. Past winners have included composer Gian Carlo Menotti, singer Frank Sinatra and actress Sophia Loren ...

In Arizona, the Udalls are one of the first families of politics. They settled in the state in 1880, when David King Udall led 50 Mormon families there from Utah who founded the town of St. Johns. David Udall's 18 children included brothers Levi and Jesse, who served as Arizona Supreme Court justices. And Levi's sons Stewart and Morris have served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stewart Udall was secretary of the interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. To honor the family, the University of Arizona Board of Regents last week authorized setting up a public policy center there to be named for the Udalls ...