Third District Rep. Howard C. Nielson, R-Utah, said he learned three things from his dealings with the press this week:

-Don't talk to the press when there is a controversy.-Don't repeat what you've heard when talking to the press because it may be attributed to you.

-If you do repeat it and it is attributed to you, whether true or false, never try to explain further what was meant.

Nielson made the comments at a breakfast roast in his honor in the Little America Hotel Thursday. Nielson told the Deseret News editorial board earlier this week that Republican vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle should withdraw from the race, saying Quayle was hurting George Bush's chances to be elected president. (See related stories on A1 and G4.)

Those comments led to a minor controversy when Nielson later said he was misquoted and was only stating the feelings that he had heard from other people. The Quayle incident was at the heart of many of the jabs taken at Nielson Thursday.

T.H. Bell, former secretary of education in the Reagan administration, said jokingly he heard Quayle is coming to Utah Friday to personally plead with Nielson not to drop out of the race for Congress.

Rep. Jack P. Redd, R-Bountiful, a member of the Utah House who is seeking election to the state Senate, said he and Nielson have many things in common. He said both are conservative Republicans, both like to save money and both used to support the Republican vice presidential nominees.

Richard Snelgrove, who is making a bid on the Republican ticket for the 2nd Congressional District seat, said he had learned from a confidential source that Nielson had called on Rep. Wayne Owens, Snelgrove's Democratic opponent, to drop out of the race.

Nielson said he was sorry for the remarks and issued an apology to the National Guard and to Quayle.