KENT, Ohio – President Barack Obama, addressing questions Wednesday about China’s alleged trade abuses and currency manipulation, said the United States must push back against unfair practices but not “go out of our way to embarrass” the country.

Doing so would risk “an all-out trade war,” Obama told The Plain Dealer in an exclusive interview.

“What we found is you just stay on them constantly,” he said while meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board before a rally at Kent State University. “You stay engaged, but you keep pushing, and you get results.”

Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican challenger, (who also campaigned in Ohio Thursday, stopping at a manufacturing plant in Bedford Heights and elsewhere) has argued repeatedly in recent weeks that the president has failed to stand up to China. A new Romney television ad criticizes Obama for not labeling the country a currency manipulator. Proponents of such a measure is necessary to prompt a stronger resolution to the matter.