Speaking in opposition to net neutrality in June 2006, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens related the Internet to a "series of tubes" as an argument in favor of Internet providers prioritizing traffic for some customers.
"...They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."
Stevens' simplified explanation has been widely mocked across the web, with Google going as far as referencing the meme in a Chrome easter egg that would display Windows XP's pipe screensaver (sspipes.scr) with the page title "Don't Clog the Tubes!" when you went to "about:internets", though this was removed as of version 2.0.159.01. Google Gears also has an about box that says " the gears that power the tubes."
If Al Gore seemed likely, it's because he's commonly quoted as saying that he invented the Internet, although this is largely viewed as a comedic mischaracterization of a poorly worded statement Gore made on CNN in 1999: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."