Washington, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Snap judgments from politicians in both parties suggested today that either presidential nominee won the 1960 election in their first national debate and that neither was hurt very badly, if at all.
Campaign managers in both parties had suffered from a case of nerves as they awaited last night's radio-television debate between Vice President Richard M. Nixon, the Republican presidential candidate, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee.
Both sides breather more easily after the debate, in which the candidates sparred cautiously and seemed somewhat nervous lest a slip of the tongue bring disaster.
"If the fight had been judged on points, Nixon might have had the edge," was one Democratic comment. "If you listened to the hollers from the crowd, we might get the edge."
This Democrat said he would give Kennedy points for contrasting the record of the Democratic and Republican parties on welfare legislation without drawing a direct reply from Nixon.
A Republican wanted to give Nixon points for asserting that the Democratic platform would inflate the federal budget by 13 to 18 billion dollars a year compared with increased costs of four to five billion dollars for the GOP program.
These Nixon estimates drew no direct reply from Kennedy, who did argue, however, that a faster rate of national economic growth would yield more tax revenue to finance the programs he favors.
Although both parties welcomed the free time given by the networks, one question asked in political circles was what percentage of the TV audience stuck with the show through the entire hour.
Another question was whether the two and one-half minutes allowed for a candidate to answer a question and one and a half minutes to comment on the rival's answer gave the nominees ample time to make their views clear.
If the pace seemed too fast, the format presumably could be altered to allow more time for answers in the two or three debates still to come.