Both former President Reagan and his longtime friend and political ally, former senator Paul Laxalt, are denying a report in a new book that Laxalt was strongly opposed to the selection of George Bush as the Republican Party's candidate for vice president at the 1980 convention. The report that Laxalt couldn't stand Bush and had extracted a promise from Reagan that Bush wouldn't be on the ticket is reported in Sidney Blumenthal's new book, "Pledging Allegiance."

In a letter to The Washington Post yesterday, Laxalt said it was untrue that he couldn't stand Bush. "For many years prior to the convention and to this day we have been good friends. I felt his selection was a wise one and so indicated to Mr. Reagan at the time." Reagan, in a statement issued yesterday, also questioned Blumenthal's veracity, accusing him of "untruths that do great injustice to George Bush, Gerald Ford, Paul Laxalt and Howard Baker." He also said there was never any promise that he would not ask the convention to nominate Bush as the party's vice presidential candidate.

Blumenthal said yesterday that he stands by his report and that it came from a source with whom he had a long working association who "was part of the Reagan entourage who was present during the deliberations" but did not want to be identified in the book. He said the source was "highly placed, reliable and truthful," and that his account was corroborated by two other sources. Blumenthal said he tried to contact Laxalt on six occasions without success to discuss the report. He said he would have given great weight to what Laxalt said, adding, "perhaps he never got the messages."

Out and About Washington super agent/attorney Robert Barnett, who sold Kitty Dukakis's recent book, is making the rounds of a select group of New York publishers to sell Marilyn Quayle's novel, written with her sister, Nancy Northcott, a former high school English teacher from Tullahoma, Tenn. The novel, written over the past year, is tentatively titled "The Rage of the Lamb." It is an adventure story about Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro, the power vacuum that follows and what becomes the last struggle between the superpowers ...

Still another in the long line of Kennedy weddings: Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, has announced plans to marry Victoria Ann Strauss, a first-year law student at the University of Virginia. Kennedy is a second-year law student there. Strauss's father, Benjamin Strauss, is the chairman of Pep Boys, the auto parts chain, and her mother, Bonnie Gould, is a Los Angeles television journalist. A wedding is planned for July in Philadelphia ...

There's no respect from comics Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. The pair showed up at the world championship chess match Monday night between grudge rivals Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in New York. Explaining why he was at the opening game, Moranis said, "I don't know anything about checkers," adding he went along because Martin "bought the tickets." Martin said he went for the excitement and "to see the fights in the audience" ...

Ken Burns has become so famous since his PBS hit "The Civil War" that he recently received a letter from California addressed: "Ken Burns, American Genius, Walpole, N.H." ...