NEW BRITAIN, CONN., JULY 8 -- President Reagan pressed his conservative economic message today at a campaign-style rally here, and he denied that it was a "ploy . . . cooked up to distract attention" from the Iran-contra hearings.

Reagan's comment, made to community leaders before his speech, was virtually his only reference to the hearings during a day otherwise devoted to economic themes. But more than 100 hecklers on the fringe of a friendly crowd of several thousand caught the president's attention by chanting, "No more lies."

The president acknowledged the presence of the hecklers during his speech by saying "I thought I heard an echo" during one of their chants. When he had finished, he said, "Well, thank you all and God bless you," then added, as he turned away from the microphone, "Well, almost all."

Throughout the day, reporters were kept far from the president, who has been avoiding comment on the testimony of fired National Security Council aide Oliver L. North.

When Reagan returned to the White House, he waved off questions about North's testimony, saying he would comment "when the hearings are all over." A senior official said it is part of a "deliberate strategy" by the president.

Reagan's only reference to the hearings was indirect but unmistakable. He told community and service club leaders here that "our critics" were making contradictory points about the "Economic Bill of Rights" he is pressing Congress to approve.

"On one hand they say it's a ploy -- something I've cooked up to distract attention from whatever -- I don't know . . . . " he said, and was drowned out by laughter. Aides said that the president's comment was a reference to the hearings.

"On the other hand, they say {there is} little that's new here, which I guess means it's made up of things that I believed in and fought to achieve for years, and now I'm working to make certain that America doesn't lose all that we've done," Reagan continued. "Well, it can be one or the other -- not both -- and I'll plead guilty to the second charge. I went to Washington to do a job -- lower taxes, restore our defenses, cut the size and intrusiveness of government, tune up the carburetor and step on the gas of the greatest engine against poverty and for opportunity in the history of man -- the free enterprise system of the United States."

The cornerstone of the "Economic Bill of Rights" is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a balanced federal budget and require a "supermajority" vote for tax increases. But Reagan's most enthusiastic support from a flag-waving audience came when the president used a tactic that was a familiar feature of his 1980 campaign.

"Do you want to go back to the old formula of more taxing and more spending?" asked Reagan. "No," roared back the crowd.

"Or do you want to keep taxes low and balance the budget once and for all?" asked Reagan. "Yes," said the crowd.