@NewGuy1970, just saw your post. Sorry the delay. I saw a bunch of 403s in the crawler errors. Also, Fetch as Googlebot for the home page returned a 403, while using curl on the site from my home IP returned a 200.
The sitemap file couldn't be downloaded either.
Once I disabled the plugin, the site was included in Google News within hours. I feel your pain about spambots though. On this blog, Askimet is doing a good job.