Folks who paid $5,000 to attend Senate candidate Harvey Gantt's fund-raiser Wednesday night got to hobnob with President Clinton and the North Carolina Democrat in the air-conditioned splendor of Bob and Sheila Johnson's Northwest home.

But those poor souls who paid a paltry $1,000 were really steamed: They sweated it out on the tennis-court level below the pool, until thunderstorms forced them into an even hotter, muggier and foodless tent for about an hour. Lawyer Peter Perlman, who'd flown up from Kentucky for the bash, keeled over briefly.

Eventually, Clinton and Gantt did address the wilted tent people.

"It was an outdoor event with a pre-reception inside," explained campaign spokeswoman Lisa Mortman. "The unfortunate thing was that a huge rainstorm struck. Then everybody {from the house} went outside {into the tent}, and unfortunately we just haven't figured out how to control the weather."

Usually it's the president who calls up to congratulate Uber-athletes. Yesterday, while somewhere in the air over Boston, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Victoria Reggie Kennedy rang up a well-sculpted Olympian.

Carl Lewis was quite surprised to receive such congrats the day after he qualified, at 34, for his fifth Olympics. "I'm so proud to be an American. I am so honored, and I was pulling for you all the way," said Clinton, who watched Lewis's qualifying long jump on Tuesday. "This is a wonderful thing for all Americans," said Kennedy, wife of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who appeared with the first lady at a Democratic National Committee function in Boston.

"They're just huge fans," explained Lisa Caputo, Clinton's press secretary. "Carl is larger than life."

"It's nice that you would be thinking of me," Lewis told the first lady, according to a reporter who was there, "because I've been thinking of you."

Kindly, he hastened to add.

Clarkson Hine, who was Bob Dole's Senate press secretary, has been named deputy communications director of the Dole for President campaign.

Same boss, different view. When Hine resided in the majority leader's office, "we had a sweeping view of the Mall and its monuments," he said yesterday. "Now, I have a sweeping view of the Union Station parking garage."

A three-judge Virginia Court of Appeals panel in Alexandria this week upheld the divorce settlement of ex-Redskin Joe Theismann -- that he give $950,000 to ex-wife Jeanne Caruso Theismann and that he pay $144,000 of her legal fees.

Joe Theismann's attorney Michael Ward told The Source that his client, now a businessman and motivational speaker, hasn't decided whether to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court. Another French Legal Twist

French Wallop's legal woes just don't seem to end.

The international travel and trade consultant is due in Arlington County General District Court on Monday in the ongoing war with her office landlord over unpaid rent and late fees totaling $65,000 since January, court papers show.

Plaza West Associates also wants to reclaim Wallop's Rosslyn suite on the grounds that her firm -- Corporate Travel Services Inc. -- has been in arrears for months, the papers indicate. Her lease ends Oct. 31.

Wallop is supposed to pay $20,338 a month. More than $7,500 of that is regularly paid by the Frontiers of Freedom Foundation. It's run by her husband, former senator Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.), who retired in 1994. He is not named in the action.

French Wallop's attorney, George Campbell, countered last week that the landlord provided inadequate services and amenities and "misrepresented" the office size on which his client's rent and other charges are based. All this caused Wallop damages "at least in the amount" of the unpaid rent.

One problem cited: faulty fixtures that over the years have burned out a total of 850 "special" light bulbs after only 30 days' use. Wallop paid for all the new ones.

Campbell's filing also said that cleaners "repeatedly" marred her office walls and that one crew damaged her computer and phones several times, which meant lost business and the expense of replacement parts.

This is Wallop's second go-round with Plaza West, which sued the travel business in May 1994 for $36,000 in back rent, fines and interest. Court records show that sum is still uncollected. CAPTION: Kudos for Carl Lewis. CAPTION: From top: For Gantt, Bob and Sheila Johnson's bash was a wash; Dole and Hine, together still. CAPTION: French Wallop, in court once again, fighting with her landlord.