A photo of President Barack Obama hangs on the wall in CoraFaye’s Cafe, a short walk from the Denver museum where Obama signed into law the most sweeping U.S. economic package in decades in an attempt to put people back to work and end the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

A photo of President Barack Obama hangs on the wall in CoraFaye’s Cafe, a short walk from the Denver museum where Obama signed into law the most sweeping U.S. economic package in decades in an attempt to put people back to work and end the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

But the folks tucking into fried chicken and cornbread at CoraFaye’s roll their eyes when asked whether the 2009 stimulus made a difference.

“Are you kidding?” said Donn Headley Sr., a 61-year-old whose heating and air conditioning company closed last year because of slow business.

Republicans nationwide are attacking Democrats with a “failed stimulus” campaign drumbeat. In ads, debates and campaign mailers, they deride the $814 billion program as having reinforced out-of-control spending and doing little to help.

In reality, the stimulus program has done more than Republicans often claim - and less than Democrats may want to admit in the face of a sluggish economy and high unemployment. Moreover, the spending continues into next year, meaning the impact of the program cannot be fully measured.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported last month that 1.4 million to 3.3 million people are employed because of the program, a blow to Republican claims that the stimulus failed to increase employment.

The stimulus program has kept many state and local governments fiscally viable, and the money has been a boon to the construction industry, financing thousands of road and bridge projects.