Perry says he will go on to South Carolina

Rick Perry said Tuesday night that he was satisfied with his campaign's showing thus far in the Iowa caucuses and that he planned to continue on to South Carolina.

With 45 percent of precincts reporting, Perry had earned 10 percent of the Iowa votes, good enough for fifth place in the first-in-the-nation contest.

"Number one, it's early in the evening ... my plan is to go to South Carolina and continue on," Perry said in an interview on Fox News.

The Texas governor downplayed suggestions that he had lost the conservative base he needs to remain competitive in the GOP race. 

Rick Santorum, who was tied with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul atop the preliminary results, appears to be getting the support of those conservatives.

"I am who I am, and my conservative record will hold up against anyone on that stage," Perry said. 

"We don't have any apologies to make to anyone."

With a fifth-place finish, Perry would likely face pressure to drop out, but he said it was also too early in the evening to derive any narrative from the early results.

"Everyone's still upbeat where we are. It's still early in the evening, so there's still a lot of hope an excitement here," Perry said.