SAN FRANCISCO -- When the newest potential contender in the Democratic Party's crowded 1988 presidential contest campaigns around the country, she regularly hears two shouted greetings: "Run Pat, run!" and "Give 'em hell, Pat!"

On the first point, Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) is still undecided. But on the second, Schroeder is happy to oblige.

In the nine weeks since her announcement that she would "take a hard look" at running for president, the 47-year-old lawyer has been chasing around the country at a breakneck pace; she says she will campaign in 49 states by mid-September, when she plans to announce her decision. And everywhere she goes, she has been bashing away at her regular targets: Ronald Reagan, the Pentagon and its contractors, and the nation's foreign economic competitors.

"We've got the kind of president who thinks arms control means some kind of deodorant," Schroeder said here last weekend. She complains sarcastically that Reagan's foreign policy "comes from the glands, not the brains." She says Reagan's speeches and policies may be responsible for increased drug use and suicide among youths. She mocks Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, saying it is inadequate to deal with the drug problem.

If she runs, Schroeder says, she will offer the voters her "Burden Sharing" plan, which is designed to "be kind of tough on those countries that want us to stand up for them militarily but {want the United States to} sit back and take it on trade." She says that her 14 years of service on the House Armed Services Committee would make her "a president who wouldn't be led around by the nose by the military-industrial complex."

The Coloradan's free-swinging style is clearly scoring points with liberal audiences and especially with women, who cheer loudly when she jokes about donating her husband's inaugural tuxedo to the Smithsonian. Schroeder, in turn, clearly enjoys the adventure of this exploratory campaign; her eyes light up whenever a roomful of potential backers erupts into the now-familiar chant of "Run, Pat, run."

But it is not at all clear that she will decide to enter the presidential race. Schroeder's fund-raising to date seems to be falling far short of her expectations. When she announced her testing-the-waters campaign in early June, she said she would need about $2 million by mid-September to get into the race. But at the end of last week, according to Maxwell Snead, treasurer of the "Schroeder 1988?" committee, contributions totaled about $100,000.

After Schroeder addressed an enthusiastic crowd of feminists at the National Organization for Women convention in July, NOW officials said they had gathered about $350,000 in checks and pledges for a Schroeder campaign. Only a small fraction of that money has actually come in so far, Snead says.

As a result, some political advisers say Schroeder will probably have a campaign nest egg of less than $1 million when the time comes to decide on running.

Another complication is that the presidential race could cost Schroeder the House seat she has held for eight terms. A long roster of politicians in her central Denver district would love to run for Congress, according to Denver Democratic chairman Steve Katzman.

Because Colorado's caucuses and primary are relatively late, the political calendar would permit Schroeder to enter the presidential race and, if the campaign fizzles, still run for the House in 1988. But she has told friends she would be uncomfortable doing that. "If she runs for president, I don't think she would feel right unless she just got out of the House race," says Venita Vinson, a friend and aide in Denver.

Recruiting a staff might pose another problem. One of the goals of Schroeder's current exploratory campaign is to find skilled campaign workers around the country. What she has found is something Democratic strategist Ann Lewis describes as the "If-I'd-only-known factor" -- that is, people who might have been eager to work for Schroeder already have signed on with other Democratic contenders.

One consideration that does not concern Schroeder is what she calls the "Ferraro question." Many supporters have expressed concern that, like Geraldine A. Ferraro, who was nominated for vice president on the Democratic ticket in 1984, Schroeder might face investigations of her family's finances.

Schroeder is married to James Schroeder, who practices international law with the Washington firm of Kaplan, Russin and Vecchi. She says she has made the couple's income tax returns public for years and that she and her husband are prepared for any financial questions. Indeed, James Schroeder has been one of the strongest advocates of his wife's candidacy.

For now, Schroeder looks and sounds like a candidate. Her exploratory committee has two paid staffers. Currently operating out of her husband's Washington law office, it is about to move to its own office. Last month the Schroeder 1988? committee filed a statement of her potential candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

And Schroeder herself has been on the road virtually every day that Congress is not in session, testing applause lines, collecting names of potential backers and reminding people that she won't go anywhere without financial contributions.

On the stump, the 47-year-old lawyer tends to take the microphone in her hand and walk around in front of the lectern like a friendly, chatty talk show host. "I don't know how to be anything but direct," she says. Much of her standard speech consists of direct slaps at Reagan.

Typical of her style were her comments in San Francisco last weekend about the president's decision to guard Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf. "It was just crazy!" she said. "We were just fools. We got nothing! The Kuwaitis say they're going to pay for our gas. I mean, give me a bloody break!"

While Schroeder talks about family issues and about the needs of the disadvantaged, her central issues involve international affairs -- defense policy, foreign relations, trade.

The core idea of her candidacy is the program she calls "Burden Sharing," which is designed to balance the budget, reduce American vulnerability overseas, and reduce the trade deficit at the same time. She says she would call on foreign economic competitors who are military allies -- West Germany, Japan, South Korea and others -- to commit to spending more for their own defense, reducing the burden on U.S. forces. She would impose import tariffs against countries that failed to spend as large a share of their gross national product on defense as the United States does.

She also likes to score rhetorical points against hypocritcal men, which draws laughs and cheers from women in her audiences.

For instance, Schroeder says that when she became the first woman on the Armed Services Committee, she had to memorize the other members' military records. "Then when these guys would say, you know, 'I don't think you belong on this committee because you don't have any experience with the military,' I could answer very nicely: 'Oh, then you and I have something in common.' "