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Byline: William E. Gibson
WASHINGTON _ Amid big-bucks lobbying by more powerful groups, Rock the Vote is reaching out to younger Americans over the Internet while planning concerts and advertisements to bring a youthful influence to this year's debate over the national retirement system.
Rock the Vote, an organization intent on stirring political involvement by the young, is just one of many participants in an intense public lobbying campaign on all sides of the debate.
Residents of key states, barely recovered from an onslaught of election ads last year, now face a campaign-style blitz on Social Security.
On one side are business and financial-industry interests organizing from the grass roots to seek public support for President Bush's proposed overhaul. On the other are big labor, liberal groups and some African-American and Hispanic groups who contend that Bush's plan would unravel the social safety net for poor and middle-income Americans.
All are competing for Americans' hearts and minds, and some are willing to spend millions to do it
``I think public opinion is the key,'' says Hans Riemer, Washington director of Rock the Vote. ``The politicians are all about which way the …