Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Armed with a sharp knife, a protective smock and with 400-pound beef carcasses hanging around her, Michele Bachmann visited an Iowa meat plant on Tuesday and sliced through a slab while going for the kill over government regulations.
"One thing we learned today is that, in a company that has five or six employees, one employee is dedicated just to deal with government rules and government regulations," the Republican presidential candidate told employees and assembled media at the Amend Packing Co. in Des Moines.
Bachmann began the tour with a visual that, even her campaign acknowledged, would make for visually arresting images: the Republican presidential candidate walking through rows of hanging cattle – dead and skinned – then grabbing a knife to cut a long slab into manageable slices of beef.
"My grandfather owned a meat market here in Iowa," she said while measuring the size of her cuts.
"How many times do you have to re-sharpen?" she asked as her host – one of the plant's owners - sharpened her blade. "Is it the fat that dulls it or is it the muscle?"
The Republican presidential candidate talked about the packing company as well as two other small businesses she visited on Monday that, she said face a mountain of government regulations.
"Part of the problem is the overkill that they have…For years, they've had a system that's worked. And now the federal government is coming in and making it far more complicated," Bachmann said. "When they make it complicated – they make it expensive. And then you can no longer stay in business."
The Minnesota congresswoman also took the issue of government regulations – that have existed for decades – and laid it squarely at President Obama's feet.
She was asked: which of the Obama administration's regulations are especially burdensome to small businesses like those she visited in Iowa?
Bachmann used the question to blast the president's jobs plan - and used a word she said she'd heard from the small business owners she'd met on her two-day Iowa tour.
It's a "disaster" she claimed she'd heard. "Because what he would do is increase taxes on small businesses…and when you increase taxes, on small businesses, the margin is so skinny – it's very hard for the business to be able to compete."
"When businesses have to deal with the overwhelming regulatory burden … then you add on to that the tax burden that President Obama wants to put on a business like this …when that happens, that tax burden goes up, you wipe out the margin of profit, and the business just can't go on anymore."
What Bachmann did not mention were the number of other small business owners who have welcomed the ideas set forth in the American Jobs Act.
The $447 billion dollar plan combines tax credits and spending proposals to boost the economy and create jobs. Among other things, it would cut payroll taxes in half, waive payroll taxes for a business that hires a new worker or gives an employee a raise, and extend a tax benefit so that companies can more quickly write off their expenses.
Just after the president proposed his jobs plan, a few small business owners told CNN Money they were encouraged by the proposals.
"Cutting our payroll taxes in half for 2012 can be a big boost for us, and I am sure other small businesses," Zalmi Duchman told the site. Duchman is the owner and CEO of TheFreshDiet.com
Another small businessman who responded was Chris Zane, owner and founder of a bike shop in Branford, Connecticut.
"I was impressed!" Zane said. "Not necessarily by any one specific point, but by the fact that the president's jobs act seemed to be balanced and reasonable."
And yet, Bachmann insists most small businesses are worried.
"All the employers have various concerns," she said. "The government needs to help. Not get in the way…As President of the United States, my goal will be to grow jobs in Iowa."
–Catherine Clifford of CNN Money contributed to this report