WHAT CHENEY CONSIDERS AN ‘URBAN LEGEND’…. After spectacular mendacity for eight years, it stands to reason that Dick Cheney would want to go out on a ridiculous note.

Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that his image has gotten a bad rap in the press and that he is in fact “a warm, lovable sort.”

Cheney conceded in an interview with CBS radio that he sometimes expresses himself “rather forcefully toward some of my compatriots, like Pat Leahy from Vermont” but dismissed as a caricature the idea that he is a “Darth Vader-type personality.”

“I think all of that’s been pretty dramatically overdone,” the vice president said. “I’m actually a warm, lovable sort.”

Cheney also insisted that his influence within the Bush administration was overstated throughout the past eight years. “The notion that somehow I was pulling strings or making presidential-level decisions. I was not,” he said.

“There was never any question about who was in charge. It was George Bush. And that’s the way we operated. This whole notion that somehow I exceeded my authority here, was usurping his authority, is simply not true. It’s an urban legend, never happened.”

I suppose the standards for a “warm, lovable sort” are inherently subjective. I find Cheney’s slow, mechanical breathing kind of creepy, and his ability to crush tracheas with his mind unsettling, but that’s me.

But the notion of Cheney exceeding his authority as vice president is less open to debate. Satyam Khanna runs down some of The Angler’s more obvious abuse-of-power examples.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.