Keyes, who has said his Republican candidacy in the Democratic stronghold would be controversial, criticized Daley's political machine during an address Tuesday to the non-partisan Civic Federation.
"We have a future, but we're not going to be allowed to get to that future because a troll is sitting under a bridge, saying 'I eat first,' " Keyes said.
Keyes said Daley's insistence on a multi-billion-dollar expansion of O'Hare International Airport has kept the state from moving forward to ease airport congestion in the Chicago area. Keyes favors development of a third regional airport.
Daley chuckled when told of Keyes remarks, commenting Keyes is a newcomer to Illinois from Maryland who probably thinks O'Hare is on the South Side.
O'Hare is northwest of the city, but it is operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation.