One paragraph in the Jan. 11 edition of The New Yorker concerning the president's antimissile Strategic Defense Initiative has sent ripples through the Republican presidential campaign.

The magazine's Elizabeth Drew wrote: "An aide to Vice President George Bush has confirmed to me that Bush takes a more 'pragmatic' view of SDI than Reagan does -- that he is yet to be convinced that it will work and is therefore less definite about his intention to deploy it -- and that he conveyed this to {Soviet leader Mikhail} Gorbachev during his meeting with him in the course of the summit."

One of Bush's rivals, Rep. Jack Kemp, said, "If this published report is true, I'm stunned and shocked and disappointed that in the Republican Party we have candidates who don't understand the importance to the security of the United States of the Strategic Defense Initiative." Kemp urged Bush this week to say whether the report is true. If Bush's position was accurately reported, Kemp said, he is "undercutting the cornerstone of the president's strategic policy . . . . "

Stephen Hart, Bush's spokesman, denied the magazine account. He said the vice president never discussed the issue of strategic defense with Gorbachev.