President Barack Obama, in a statement, said he accepted Rice's decision to remove her name from consideration. Obama decried what he called "unfair and misleading attacks" on Rice in recent weeks.
A person familiar with the deliberations said support has been trending away from Rice for the past few days.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is perceived internally to be the front-runner for the secretary of state position.
Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is also seen as the front-runner for Obama's next defense secretary.
The person familiar with the deliberations requested anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations.
Statement by President Obama on Ambassador Rice
Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State. For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant. As my Ambassador to the United Nations, she plays an indispensable role in advancing America's interests. Already, she has secured international support for sanctions against Iran and North Korea, worked to protect the people of Libya, helped achieve an independent South Sudan, stood up for Israel's security and legitimacy, and served as an advocate for UN reform and the human rights of all people. I am grateful that Susan will continue to serve as our Ambassador at the United Nations and a key member of my cabinet and national security team, carrying her work forward on all of these and other issues. I have every confidence that Susan has limitless capability to serve our country now and in the years to come, and know that I will continue to rely on her as an advisor and friend. While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.